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WHO urged to recognise vaping’s role in harm reduction

May 25, 2018

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Fontem Ventures, owner of leading e-vapour brand blu, has called on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to recognise the growing evidence that vaping can make a significant contribution to tobacco harm reduction, ahead of the upcoming World No Tobacco Day 2018 on May 31.

“The current generation of smokers are ill-served by the WHO’s silence on vaping. It’s time for change, and World No Tobacco Day would be the perfect opportunity for the WHO to talk about vaping and provide smokers across the world with the best information around how to make the switch from traditional combustible tobacco,” said Andrew Gregson, Director of Corporate & Legal Affairs at Fontem Ventures.

The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) defines tobacco control as “a range of supply, demand and harm reduction strategies that aim to improve the health of a population by eliminating or reducing their consumption of tobacco products and exposure to tobacco smoke.”

E-vapour products like e-cigarettes contain no tobacco, and peer reviewed scientific evidence suggests that switching from smoking to e-vapour products will substantially reduce exposure to harmful toxicants found in tobacco cigarette smoke, Fontem claimed in a statement. Some health bodies have even concluded that vaping could be 95 percent less harmful than smoking tobacco cigarettes.

However, so far the WHO has not recognised the harm reduction potential of vaping, missing a significant opportunity to accelerate the move away from tobacco products. This stands in stark contrast to state and non-state actors in WHO member countries like the UK and France, who already acknowledge the role vaping can play in harm reduction.

“Data showing the decline of smoking rates in countries where vaping is recognised as an alternative for smokers is incontrovertible, and a clear, evidence-based position on vaping would strengthen public health campaigns targeting smokers. The time for bodies like the WHO to suggest that smokers attempting to quit traditional tobacco switch to something better is now,” said Gregson.