In the past, the UK was tied to the European Union’s collective position on vaping and tobacco harm reduction as laid out in the Tobacco Products Directive which meant the COP’s participants didn’t get to hear about our huge successes. Later this year, the government’s representatives will be free to sing about how vaping has driven an exceptional shift away from tobacco consumption.
The submission to the APPG(1) from the Adam Smith Institute(2) talks about how, “the United Kingdom is a world leader in encouraging smokers to switch to e-cigarettes, which has had a markedly positive public health impact.”
“The WHO/FCTC position on e-cigarettes undermines our success in this area and this will likely continue at COP9” - The Adam Smith Institute
The Institute refers to Clive Bates’ summary of a recent WHO primer on vaping, where he called it “a disgraceful travesty of science communication”. It adds that the FCTC has published literature that states e-cigarettes “do not help in quitting”, “are a gateway to drugs”, and propose “outright prohibition and overly harsh regulatory practices”.
The International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations(3) echoes the “grave concerns regarding the WHO and the FCTC” regarding its approach to low-risk nicotine products, in particular its “refusal to recognise harm reduction principles to lower the disease and premature death”.
The Network drew the APPG’s attention to the WHO’s “lack of transparency, lack of disclosure, and lack of inclusion of consumer stakeholders”, as well as its “substantive concerns” about some of the recommendations and findings of a recent WHO Study Group report.
“It seems clear that the WHO TFI is manipulating evidence specifically to misinform parties to COP” - The New Nicotine Alliance
Juul Labs pointed out, “FCTC Parties are obliged to not only allow products with the potential to reduce risk but to actively promote them as part of implementing their tobacco control policies based on the most current and relevant scientific, technical and economic considerations” – something the WHO actively deters.
“The UK Delegation now has the opportunity to bring its harm reduction experience to the COP and to encourage Parties to take a fresh look at the power of harm reduction to accelerate the end of smoking and to honour their FCTC harm reduction obligations.”
The New Nicotine Alliance(4) impresses upon the APPG the strength of the UK’s position by virtue of what it contributes to the WHO: “The UK is a major contributor to the WHO (77% of its budget in 2018)(5), so we feel that the world-leading policies we employ in this country towards reduced risk products – and the personnel behind them - should be backed up by our COP delegation in The Hague in November and that the UK has every right to do so. It would be entirely in keeping with previously stated aspirations from the WHO towards harm reduction; fits with the articles of the FCTC; is consistent with the scientific evidence; endorses the UK’s leadership in this policy area and would advance public health on a global scale.”
POTV has covered the inquiry in two previous articles(6)(7).
- The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Vaping COP Inquiry - https://copinquiry.co.uk
- The Adam Smith Institute - https://www.adamsmith.org
- The International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations - https://innco.org/
- The New Nicotine Alliance – https://nnalliance.org/
- Voluntary contributions by fund and by contributor, 2018 - https://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA72/A72_INF5-en.pdf
- APPG Holds COP9 Inquiry - https://www.planetofthevapes.co.uk/news/politics-campaigns/2021-02-12_appg-holds-cop9-inquiry.html
- UKVIA Back In To Advise Parliament - https://www.planetofthevapes.co.uk/news/vaping-news/2021-02-25_ukvia-back-in-to-advise-parliament.html