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WHO Doesn’t Get Reduced Harm?

The World Health Organization is reminding politicians around the world that heated tobacco products contain (surprisingly) tobacco

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has written to governments signed up as Parties to the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC) to tell them that, “heated tobacco products are tobacco products”, adding “all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship that promote a tobacco product by any means that are false, misleading or deceptive or likely to create an erroneous impression about its characteristics, health effects, hazards or emissions.”

The WHO’s resident puritans and anti-harm reduction zealots are incandescent that the United States has allowed heated tobacco products access to the market – despite them being proven to be safer than cigarettes and other forms of combustible tobacco.

Ignoring science, the WHO continues: “Reducing exposure to harmful chemicals in Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs) does not render them harmless, nor does it translate to reduced risk to human health.”

IQOS was given its clearance to go to market back in July by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The WHO says, “the US FDA authorization rejected claims that the use of the product is less harmful than another tobacco product or reduces risks to health. The FDA orders also require the company to monitor youth awareness and use of the products to help ensure that the marketing of the MRTPs does not have unintended consequences for youth use. The company must also keep the FDA apprised of efforts to prevent youth access and exposure.”

Adding, “given that health may be affected by exposure to additional toxins when using HTPs, claims that HTPS reduce exposure to harmful chemicals relative to conventional cigarettes may be misleading,” and “all tobacco products pose risks to health”.

The WHO considers vaping products to be tobacco and swiveled-eyed loon Stanton Glantz was quick to pipe up: “The WHO statement on heated tobacco products and the US FDA decision regarding IQOS stesses [SIC] that the FDA did NOT say IQOS was any safer than a cigarette. Countries that have banned IQOS and similar products should stay the course.”

Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos mocked him by commenting: “WHO re-affirms that there is no scientific evidence that using parachutes is safer than using feathers in a free-fall (or that the vastly lower-risk IQOS is safer than a cig). Countries that have banned IQOS are asked to keep protecting tobacco cigarette sales.”

Dr. Moira Gilchrist said Glantz’ statement was “the definition of anti-science”. She pointed out something obvious that Glantz was oblivious to: “Actually they authorised IQOS as a Modified Risk Tobacco product with reduced exposure claims, because it is ‘appropriate for the promotion of public health’. What exactly do you and your friends at WHO understand by: ‘This determination included a finding that issuance of the exposure modifications orders is expected to benefit the health of the population as a whole’?

For many smokers, nothing worked until vaping came along – but some still didn’t find that eliquids delivered for them. Those people might find success at reducing their harm exposure by switching to heated products instead, and we wish them the best of luck. Unlike Stanton Glantz and the World Health Organization, POTV would like to see people able to stop smoking if they want to.


  • WHO statement on heated tobacco products and the US FDA decision regarding IQOS – [link]
  • HNB AOK for USA, POTV – [link]
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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