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WHO’s Fayokun In About-Turn

WHO representative Dr. Ranti Fayokun has finally made an about-turn on the relative safety of vaping in a congressional hearing in the Philippines

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Doctor Ranti Fayokun was made some absurd statements about vaping recently. In her role as a representative for the World Health Organisation (WHO), Fayokun has attended a series of congressional hearing in the Philippines. Finally, contradicting what she has previously said, Fayokun has admitted that vaping poses less risk to users than smoking cigarettes.

The Manilla Standard reports that Fayokun finally made her admission of vape’s safety after pressure from harm reduction advocates.

At a previous session, Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos described her speech as, “a revealing and particularly embarrassing experience that I will remember forever.”

In it, Fayokun claimed: “Apparently they are marketing to children. I want you to just look at this slide and tell me if this is something that would appeal to you – because, obviously, they are not just marketed towards adults. They are marketed towards young people.”

On her slide was a joke image created by graphic designer Adam Padilla. The “My First Vape” image became a viral sensation in 2017 – and fooled many people – but nobody with a serious interest in vaping or harm reduction believed it was a genuine product. Nobody it seems apart from Fayokun.

She later told POTV that the use of images on the slide was simply to illustrate a point and not meant to reflect actual brands on the market. Some may consider this lying, it is not a description Fayokun accepted.

The WHO’s position on tobacco harm reduction products continues to defy the evidence amassing on a monthly basis

Dr. Andrew da Roza, an addiction specialist, responded to the WHO’s position: “They are saying if you are a country that cannot produce regulation and cannot enforce regulation, you must ban. That, to me, is a contradiction. A country cannot regulate perfectly, but the last thing it should do is ban because the black market will proliferate.”

“This is an issue that is extremely important to children. If we ban things, if we do not regulate things, we create a black market that does not care about children, that does not care about elderly people, that does not care about us at all.”

“A ban on electronic cigarettes and heat-no-burn tobacco products will only create a black market that will be disastrous to public health, according to international public health experts who attended the hearing. If you ban them, there will simply be a black market. When the United States banned alcohol in the 1900s, that did not work out.”

“E-cigarettes are twice as effective as NRTs,” continued da Roza. “New technologies give public health policy a unique opportunity to eliminate cigarettes in a single generation. I truly believe that. We can have a smoke-free world if we use these heat-not-burn products and if we use these e-cigarette products.”

“Any regulation that slows down the developments in science means the people of the Philippines will not benefit from safer products. The government, in my humble opinion, should be investing in research on e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn products.”

“The health of the nation is at stake, and I believe there is an urgent need to follow the UK model of regulation. It is a working model, and it is extremely successful.”

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Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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