Speaking about tobacco harm reduction, the report(1) stated: “The UK is a world leader in this field and must fully embrace this position. Whereas in previous years the UK delegation to the FCTC COP has been obligated to adhere to the consensus view within the European Union, post-Brexit it is able not only to forge its own path in terms of domestic legislation on vaping and reduced- risk products, but also to take its place on the world stage as a leader in pragmatic and effective health regulation.”
The cross-party group reaffirmed that the UK, “has a clearly stated position that vaping is 95% safer than combustible tobacco” and, “in recent years the UK has very successfully integrated vaping into its public health policies on tobacco harm reduction.”
It warns: “However, this position is not shared by a number of countries, the World Health Organisation itself, and the Secretariat to the FCTC.”
The report makes a number of recommendations under the following headings:
- Core Principles - Upholding our strong domestic position on tobacco harm reduction, and
- UK Positioning – Aligning our strategy for COP9 with our position at home & ensuring the UK’s voice is heard
John Dunne, Director General of the UKVIA(2), applauded the report: “It’s about time that the vaping industry stood up against the World Health Organization (WHO) and the APPG on Vaping has done a great job of doing so, challenging the organisation to change its approach to harm reduction and calling upon Government to consider a reduction in funding if they continue in the same vein by taking a prohibitionist stance. It was also good to see that the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control treaty was called into question by parliamentarians, who want it to better reflect UK’s national interest.
“It is crucial that the vaping sector, and former smokers turned vapers, speak with one voice to put pressure on the WHO to change its ways. As the body which is meant to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable, the WHO has a moral responsibility to do the right thing. We know full well that vaping is a fraction of the harm of smoking and is proven to be the best way to quit smoking. In addition, some three million vapers in our country – a significant number who have vaped for a long time now and have experienced positive life changing benefits – is proof that it is highly effective.”