Last week, the World Health Organisation published yet another report which spreads fake news and false myths about vaping. Despite the tool being recognised as 95 percent less harmful than conventional smoking, the WHO’s scientifically unjustified vaping witch-hunt could cost millions of lives.
Among the worn-out and debunked theories peddled by the WHO report ‘on the global tobacco epidemic 2021: New and Emerging Products’ is the so-called gateway effect theory, which suggests that vaping leads to smoking. This dangerous and misleading theory has long since been disproven by numerous studies, as well as nationwide case studies, such as in England where upwards of 50,000 smokers are using vapes as a gateway out of (not into) smoking every year.
“Rather than focus on the all-important goal of beating smoking, the WHO is turning its guns on vaping, the most powerful smoking cessation tool on the planet.”
Vaping has also proven to be more effective than other quitting tools. A 2019 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that vaping was twice as effective as nicotine-replacement products in helping smokers quit. Vape flavours - continuously demonised by the WHO - have also shown to be crucial in helping smokers quit. Vapers that use flavours are 2.3 times more likely to quit than those who use tobacco-flavoured e-cigarettes.
Besides being riddled with biased anti-vaping scaremongering and false claims, the entire direction of travel set out in the latest WHO report is nonsensical. Rather than focus on the all-important goal of beating smoking, the WHO is turning its guns on vaping, the most powerful smoking cessation tool on the planet.
They clearly find it more important to fall into line with the narrow-minded ‘quit or die’ approach trumpeted by the WHO’s billionaire sponsors, like Mike Bloomberg. The reality is that if the world follows the WHO’s lead, fewer smokers will quit and more will die as a consequence.
The WHO systematically ignores the wealth of scientific evidence pointing to the benefits of vaping, not to mention the first-hand experience of millions of vapers. Unfortunately, this anti-vaping approach has spill over effects to other jurisdictions - especially to low- and middle-income countries, but also the European Union.
For example, both Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and a vape flavour ban in the Netherlands mirror the WHO recommendations - and are extremely dangerous for that reason. In 2007, nearly a quarter of the Dutch population smoked daily. That number went down to 16 percent in 2018 and continues to drop. However, with the new Dutch vape flavour ban in place, this positive trend might quickly reverse. According to newly published research by the Consumer Choice Center, the ban will drive over 250 thousand adults back to smoking.
“The weight of research and real-world evidence shows that progressive vaping policies can help 19 million European smokers to quit.”
The same is true for the EU Beating Cancer plan. Smoking-induced cancer claims nearly 700,000 lives each year in the EU. But instead of fostering life-saving innovation, the EU has opened the door to flavour bans and tax increases which would deprive millions of smokers of the opportunity to stop smoking once and for all. The weight of research and real-world evidence shows that progressive vaping policies can help 19 million European smokers to quit.
Restricting or banning access to vaping will do nothing but cost lives, and the WHO and the EU - both as a bloc and at member state levels - will soon learn this painful lesson if they keep ignoring science and consumers.
This article reflects the views of the author and not the views of The Parliament Magazine or of the Dods Group