The Conference of the Parties (COP) of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) are currently meeting in Delhi, India from the 7th and 12th of November, to discuss a range of issues relating to tobacco control, including policies on e-cigarettes and vaping.
Over 180 parties, made up of worldwide government officials and NGOs will meet at the publicly funded meeting, however media access is strictly controlled, and Irish delegates have not made their positions known prior to attending.
Last month the WHO published a report on vaping products (which they call ENDS – electronic nicotine delivery systems) which the Irish Vape Vendors Association (IVVA) calls ”a deeply flawed reading of the current evidence”.
”The WHO report sets up the use of vaping products as a negative from the start, but as we know from the evidence, both Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians, London have found these products to be at least 95% safer than smoking” said IVVA administrator, Gillian Golden.
Recently, leading academics in the field of tobacco control at the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies wrote a comprehensive critique of the WHO’s report, in which it states:
”The WHO report has been made available without the four supporting papers upon which it is supposed to be based. These papers are still undergoing revision during peer review. This is poor scientific practice and does not provide a reliable basis for policy advice.”
In Ireland, the products are used almost exclusively by ex smokers or smokers looking to reduce their harm. Although under Irish and EU regulation they are not allowed to be marketed as a quit aid, the recent Healthy Ireland survey reported that of the 10% of smokers who successfully stopped smoking last year, 32% of those had used vaping to help them stop.
”Ireland has a goal of reducing smoking rates to less that 5% by the year 2025. We need to listen to what seems to be working for smokers and embrace these harm reducing products. They’re a far safer, cheaper and more enjoyable way to consume nicotine”, said Golden.
However, as the UKCTAS paper authors claim:
”Almost every policy listed in the WHO’s paper could easily have the effect of protecting the incumbent cigarette trade, promoting smoking rather than vaping, and lead to increases in non-communicable diseases. It is very likely that widespread uptake of WHO’s policy proposal would ‘reduce harm reduction’ and therefore increase harm.”
”The IVVA call on Irish delegates to the COP meeting in Delhi to heed the serious criticisms levied at the WHO report, recognise the public health benefits of vaping, and break the cycle of secrecy that surrounds the meeting”, said Golden.
”Although their attendance is publicly funded, media access is strictly controlled, and neither independent companies like our members, nor the thousands of Irish consumers who have found success with the products know what Ireland’s position is.”
The UKCTAS comment can be read in full here : http://ukctas.net/news/commentary-on-WHO-report-on-ENDS&ENNDS.html
The Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) has issued a briefing on the WHO report on vaping and that can be found here : http://www.ibvta.org.uk/core/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/IBVTA-Briefing-on-the-WHO-COP7-Report-on-Vaping.pdf
The Electronic Cigarette Industry Trade Association (ECITA) has written on the UKCTAS report here: http://www.ecita.org.uk/ecita-blog/ukctas-critique-who-paper-%E2%80%98ends%E2%80%99-isn%E2%80%99t-just-specific-critique-it-also-mythbuster-most
INNCO, the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisation, a non-industry organisation which represents the views of consumers has issued a response to the WHO report here: http://innco.org/who-cop7