The UK’s leading charity campaigning on behalf of electronic cigarette users says we are facing a “real threat” from the World Health Organisation.
The UK’s leading charity campaigning on behalf of electronic cigarette users says we are facing a “real threat” from the World Health Organization (WHO). The threat comes from the adverse research it is relying on to inform discussion about tobacco harm reduction and vaping at the forthcoming Conference of Parties (COP) to which the Government is sending a delegation.
The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) says that UK e-cig users have a role to play in protecting the reduced risk products found in UK vape shops “that have benefitted us so much and could do for many more smokers in the future.”
The charity is urging people who use the budget and premium vape liquid to write to Maria Caulfield, the Under-Secretary of State for Health and Conservative MP for Lewes. This post was previously held by Jo Churchill, who was very supportive of electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation. Maria Caulfield is an ex-nurse and so the NNA is hoping she will be receptive to the overwhelming supportive research evidence and the lived experience of e-cig users such as the customers of our online vape shop.
The charity says: “There is a lot of consumer misunderstanding about the WHO and its upcoming ninth Conference of the Parties (COP9) meeting, which is understandable because it is opaque and restricted from the public despite relying on taxpayer funding (the UK is the biggest funder of the FCTC).
“The COP meetings are held every two years. The latest was scheduled for The Hague in 2020 but was postponed till this year due to COVID. It is now taking place virtually in November, with an abridged agenda and reduced working hours. This is dangerous as it makes it even more opaque.
“The Parties in question are government signatories to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which is a legal treaty ratified by over 180 countries. Each of those countries – including the UK which is no longer represented at the meetings by the EU and free to speak for itself – sends a delegation to the COP to decide the future of global policy towards tobacco products, but also recently e-cigarettes and other reduced-risk alternatives.”
Decisions made by the Parties at COP meetings offer guidance to governments when forming national policies but the COP does not make laws itself. All the announcements to date indicate that it will urge our politicians to limit the UK made e-liquid flavours to just tobacco, to define ecigs as tobacco products, and to restrict the sale and use of open tank systems that you can by from UK vape shops and refill yourself.
The WHO currently issues statements saying that vaping is not proven to work as a smoking quit tool. The NNA says: “It does this by completely dismissing Cochrane evidence reviews – renowned as the highest standard for health research – which state that e-cigarettes work better than nicotine replacement therapy for smokers looking to quit.”
The NNA concludes: “We are not safe in the UK from harmful regulation towards vaping and other reduced-risk nicotine products, it can spread across borders very quickly. We must not assume that the current UK political acceptance of vaping is fixed in stone and will never change. Things can move swiftly in the wrong direction in politics, especially if politicians feel they are an outlier to a global consensus.”