Policymakers and Global Health Organizations are in Opposition to the WHO Report on E-cigarettes

(MENAFN- Asdaa BCW) • Experts emphasize that scientific evidence has proven the ability of smoke-free alternatives to help millions quit smoking

Policymakers and health organizations worldwide have expressed strong criticism in response to the recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO), which called for a ban on e-cigarettes. They have accused the report of relying on biased scientific evidence that undermines the potential benefits of alternative smoking products, seemingly promoting a predetermined conclusion of banning e-cigarettes or imposing strict regulations on them.

A public health advocacy organization based in the Philippines has announced its rejection of the report, stating that the WHO is impending the significant progress made in public health over the past two decades. This progress includes smokers transitioning to smoke-free products. Dr. Lorenzo Mata Jr., President of Quit for Good, emphasized that there is ample scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of smoke-free alternatives like e-cigarettes, heated tobacco, and snus. These alternatives have successfully helped millions of smokers in the UK, US, Japan, and Sweden to quit smoking. Despite all this evidence, he condemned the WHO's continued rejection of e-cigarettes.

In addition, according to data provided by the WHO, the global e-cigarette market has seen substantial growth, increasing from $7.806 billion in 2015 to $22.349 billion in 2022. In the period between 2018 and 2022, the disposable e-cigarette market witnessed a remarkable growth of 116%, with over 550,000 different products now available.
According to Dr. Mata, the WHO’s diagnosis of the situation is flawed as it overlooks the substantial reduction in harmful exposure achieved when smokers switch to e-cigarettes and other smoke-free alternatives. He further highlighted that smoke-free products are more effective for many smokers compared to traditional quit-smoking therapies.

Mata added, "E-cigarettes do not pose a threat to public health, but rather provide smokers with a safe way to quit. It is concerning to classify these innovative products as a new public health threat, as it is a clear mistake to suggest that continuing to use traditional cigarettes is a better option than switching to e-cigarettes. He also pointed out that many countries, including the Philippines, have chosen to regulate the use of smoke-free products such as e-cigarettes based on scientific evidence, offering smokers better alternatives to quit smoking.
Andrea Leadsom, MP, Under-Secretary of State for Public Health, said, "There will be discussions on the progress made in tobacco control at COP10. Britain is certainly an exception when it comes to e-cigarettes, and we will continue to recognize them as an important tool in helping adults quit smoking. Our priority is to assist and safeguard our citizens from the risks associated with smoking.” She added that Britain has a world-leading approach to tobacco and nicotine harm reduction.

Andrew Lewer, the Conservative MP for Northampton South, said, “It is worth noting that the WHO maintains a skeptical approach to low-risk products such as e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products, and nicotine pouches, as they believe these products carry potential health risks. This stands in contrast to the UK's approach to tobacco control, which is widely regarded as a global leader.”

The Quit for Good organization emphasizes that countries that have banned e-cigarettes have not successfully eliminated vaping. Instead, they have unintentionally created an unregulated black market that poses public health risks due to the absence of regulatory standards. The organization calls on governments to regulate the trade of these modern products.
Commenting on a previous WHO report, Professor Peter Hajek, Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary University of London, stated, "It is concerning that WHO has adopted an anti-vaping stance that could potentially hinder the made in public health. Switching to safer alternatives has the potential to bring significant benefits. The new report calls for a ban on these alternatives, while allowing the sale of harmful tobacco products, is puzzling. It appears that the report misrepresents the evidence and should be approached with caution, considering its potential impact on health."
Professor John Britton, an emeritus professor of Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, has raised an important concern regarding the World Health Organization’s (WHO) failure to differentiate between addiction to tobacco smoking, which leads to millions of deaths annually, and addiction to nicotine, which does not.


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