WHO’s Scientific denialism

Posted 13th February 2020 by Dave Cross
Published in French on Vapolitique, SOVAPE’s Philippe Poirson’s article has been translated by European consumer group ETHRA. In it, Poirson calls out the World Health Organisation (WHO) for its misinformation and scientific denialism. It raises a large question mark over whether the English and the French should “continue to finance this propaganda”.

“Vaping took centre stage in what turned out to be a concerning briefing at the 146th session of the WHO Executive Board (EB146) in Geneva on 4 February,” writes Poirson. “Put on the agenda by Iraq, a nation where vaping is not a priority, the subject was introduced by the Director-General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu. Although the session had only an informative and non-decision-making status, the direction desired by the Secretariat of WHO left no room for doubt.”

“Tedros has taken up the language of the billionaire candidate for the White House, Michael Bloomberg, by repeating the unsupported belief that vaping is toxic and a threat to young people. ‘We know enough to have to protect our children from their harmful effects,’ says Dr Tedros as a policy line for the WHO. This was without discussing harm reduction in the context of smoking, nor relevant scientific work of independent organisations, notably those in the UK.”

It’s odd that Tendros claims to “know enough” to act on vaping when the WHO appear to rely excessively on the research output from Stanton Glantz and the ignorance of Ranti Fayokun.

“Attempting to support the predetermined anti-vape rhetoric of the session, Ranti Fayokun was summoned as a scientific expert. In a presentation that contradicted established scientific studies, she exaggerated the already ludicrously false claims about vaping. At one-point confusing solid fine particles and liquid droplets, she then assured those listening that vaping gives off more formaldehyde than cigarettes, neglecting to explain that this finding occurred during unrealistic, ‘dry puff’ conditions which would make vaping impossible in a real-world situation. Following this and in a vain attempt to suggest that vaping increases heart attacks and strokes, she then referenced a bogus study that counted people who had heart attacks or strokes before vaping.”

Poirson accuses Fayokun and the WHO of Rewriting history. He says that she, “concluded by sticking to the script of the Bloomberg funded, anti-vape MPOWER report. Also present at the session was Vinayak Prasad, co-author of the report and former senior official in the Indian government, who unsurprisingly supported the call for a crackdown on vaping, along with Tibor Szilagyi, coordinator of the Secretariat of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).”

He raises the question: “Should the English and the French continue to finance this propaganda?”

France and the United Kingdom each contribute in excess of 6% of the WHO’s budget, Poirson asks: “Should the taxpayers of these two countries continue to subsidise and be complicit in the political manoeuvring of the American oligarch and the financial interests of the Indian Tobacco Company (ITC Ltd), at the expense of the anti-tobacco campaign, FCTC and the human right to harm reduction?”

Related:

  • WHO leaderships pushes back against science, ETHRA – [link]
  • ETHRA – [link]
  • SOVAPE – [link]


 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker