It’s time to hold the World Health Organization responsible, say advocates

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With 1.1 billion people still hooked on cigarettes after a 20-year fight to end the smoking epidemic, experts are calling for an end to the WHO’s anti-vaping stance.

They questioned why the health body – and its tobacco control financier Michael Bloomberg – continue to reject proven harm reduction methods.

In a damning new report, pro-vaping group INNCO condemned the World Health Organization‘s ideology-driven messaging, saying it needs to rethink its ‘prohibitionist approach’ to e-cigarettes.

Charles A. Gardner of the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations said:

“The goal is simple…save lives. 

“The WHO’s stance and the evidence that they have used to back up their case has been described as ‘fundamentally flawed’, ‘non-sensical’ and ‘dangerous’.

“And, as a former Senior Adviser to the World Health Organization, it saddens me to see it going in this direction.”

Charles A. Gardner, INNCO

The ‘Bloomberg, WHO and the Vaping Misinfodemic’ dossier outlined nine reasons we should challenge the health body’s ‘outright opposition’ to reduced risk smoking alternatives.

These included:

  • It’s failure to distinguish between smoking addiction and nicotine dependence
  • Deliberately lumping combustible cigarettes and safer nicotine e-cigarettes in the same category
  • The need for greater transparency in decision-making and financing structures and
  • Ignoring a groundswell of support for vaping as a far less harmful option for smokers.

The report urged world governments to question why the WHO refuses to acknowledge less harmful alternatives, especially when there are eight million unnecessary tobacco-related deaths every year.

It also called for the formation of a dedicated body that would – alongside global leaders – hold the health organisation’s actions to account.

Charles A. Gardner said:

“There are 1.1 billion smokers now in the world, a situation that has barely changed in the last 20 years…the anti-harm reduction conservatism of the WHO and Bloomberg is not working.

“That’s why we are calling for a global response in the form of a Tobacco Harm Reduction Working Group and international governments collectively questioning their prohibitionist and evidence-denialist approach.”

Charles A. Gardner, INNCO

The full report – which takes from healthcare experts, politicians, leading academics and more – is available to read here.

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