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Vapers protest at WHO headquarters seeking recognition for vaping as valid harm-reduction tool

May 30, 2024


The World Vapers Alliance (WVA) organised a protest in front of the WHO headquarters in Geneva on World Vape Day, 30 May.

The consumer body said the demonstration aimed to compel the WHO to finally listen to consumers and acknowledge the scientific evidence in support of vaping, nicotine pouches, and similar products as valid harm-reduction tools.

“It is high time the World Health Organisation acknowledged reality, embraced science, and helped move the world toward a healthier future. It turns out it’s as easy as giving people more choices, not less,” it said in a statement.

The demonstration is part of the WVA’s effort to shed light on the rampant misperception epidemic around tobacco harm reduction ahead of the World No Tobacco Day (31 May).

As revealed by Ipsos research for the think tank We are Innovation a staggering 74 per cent of smokers worldwide mistakenly believe that vaping is as harmful or more harmful than smoking.

The WVA said this widespread misunderstanding is the result of misinformation and costs lives, as millions of smokers waver on making the switch to a scientifically proven, 95 per cent less harmful alternative product.

“World No Tobacco Day is a crucial opportunity to combat misinformation and promote effective harm reduction strategies,” said Michael Landl, director of the World Vapers Alliance. “Instead of blindly fighting against safer nicotine alternatives, the WHO should be championing them as the key to a smoke-free future.”

The WVA highlighted the “remarkable precedent” set by Sweden which is on the verge of becoming smoke-free, not by banning safer nicotine products but by endorsing them. It said Sweden’s success should serve as a model for global tobacco harm reduction strategies and the WHO should take note and adapt its current approach, which is failing.

“The WHO is missing the mark by targeting vaping and other safer nicotine products instead of focusing on the real threat – smoking. By fighting those products, they are keeping smokers from making the switch. This is not just misguided, it’s dangerous,” Landl added.

“We are facing a misperception epidemic and the WHO is part of the problem by spreading further misconceptions. Accurate information is the cornerstone of effective public health policy. We must ensure that smokers have access to the truth about safer alternatives. Facts over lies!”

The WVA has called on health authorities and the WHO to reevaluate their stance on harm reduction and to prioritise facts over fear.