A World Health Organisation (WHO) conference concerned with electronic cigarettes is currently underway (COP9), but it compares unfavourably with the one taking place addressing the environment (COP26). Independent advocates for e-cigs and vape consumers have been banned from viewing the discussions.
COP9 is discussing ways of treating vaping around the world, coming up with policies it will recommend to governments – advice that will have direct ramifications for premium online vape shops like E Liquids UK.
Discovering how unelected WHO officials plan on trying to restrict UK vape juice is not easy as most journalists were also banned from viewing proceedings. The handful who did manage to log in to the virtual proceedings were expelled by the second day of COP9. So far, no accredited journalist
What is COP9?
Governments that have signed up to the WHO’s Framework Convention for Tobacco Control (FCTC) are termed as parties to the convention. COP9 is the ninth Conference of Parties, where the governments send delegates to listen to debates and put across their experience and point of view. The aim is for them all to agree on an international approach to combatting tobacco-related disease and the treatment of alternative, reduced harm nicotine products such as e-cigs and premium vape liquid.
What is the WHO’s position on vaping?
Despite the UK examining the independent evidence and finding that electronic cigarettes using UK vape liquid offered a huge benefit to smokers, being “at least 95% safer than smoking”, the WHO still maintains that e-cigs are “harmful”.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “Where they are not banned, governments should adopt appropriate policies to protect their populations from the harms of electronic nicotine delivery systems, and to prevent their uptake by children, adolescents and other vulnerable groups.”
What are people saying?
“Smoking kills eight million people every year, yet the WHO continues to actively campaign against safer nicotine alternatives such as vaping. Countries attending COP9 must force the WHO to back the evidence,” says Nancy Loucas of CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates).
Authors of the recent Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction report, a study looking at tobacco harm reduction around the world, say: “The WHO predicts a billion lives will be lost to smoking by the end of the century but still rejects safer nicotine products. FCTC saves lives? Not without tobacco harm reduction.”
Clive Bates used to be the head of the anti-smoking campaign group Action on Smoking and Health UK. He recognises that vaping is a key approach to reducing deaths caused by smoking. He believes that the WHO’s approach will only serve to “protect the cigarette trade from the competition.”
For those interested in following news updates and leaks from COP9, you can view the COPWATCH website, a resource set up by the UK and Irish ecig users.