The UK’s largest vaping body is leading an international push for the World Health Organization to reform its stance on vaping regulation.
Vape advocacy groups from sixteen countries have come together and called on the public health agency to reverse its views on the use and regulation of e-cigarettes.
In 2016, the WHO tobacco group said member states could ban vaping products outright as part of a tobacco control plan.
The UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) is leading the charge, backed by Vape Business Ireland (VBI) citing public health policies in nations such as the UK and New Zealand which promote vaping as a means to help smokers quit smoking.
The UKVIA has also raised concerns that the WHO’s stance may compromise the progress made by countries who have embraced vaping, by floating the idea of vape bans.
Despite the UK’s promotion of vaping, questions have been raised about the UK’s influence on WHO proceedings. After all, the UK makes an annual donation of $164 million to the WHO, making it their second largest funder.
Lizi Jenkins is a member of the UKVIA’s COP working group and is also Head of Regulatory Affairs at BSMW. She said:
“We and our international co-signatories are proud to stand up for vaping as a route for smokers seeking a less harmful alternative. We are keen to work with the UK delegation and the WHO to ensure that its policy decisions at the Geneva congress reflect the evidence and good common sense.”
Meanwhile VBI Director Micheal Kenneally said:
“We and our international co-signatories are proud to stand up for vaping as a route for smokers seeking a less harmful alternative. We are keen to work with the WHO to ensure that its policy decisions at the Geneva congress reflect the evidence and good common sense.”
The WHO has taken what it describes as a “cautious” stance on e-cigarettes, saying it will take decades to properly study their effects.
This global call to action urges the WHO tobacco control group to acknowledge vaping as part of an effective harm reduction strategy, to reverse its previous decision to invite bans and restrictions on vaping; and to recommend that member states regulate tobacco and vaping products separately.
The next meeting of the WHO tobacco plan is scheduled for October.
The coalition signatories include
ANAFE-Confindustria – Italy
Asian Vape Association (AVA) – Asia
Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance (ATA) – Australia
Australian Vaping Advocacy, Trade and Research (AVATAR) – Australia
Canadian Vaping Association – Canada
Global Vaping Standards Association (GVSA) – USA
GO for France Vapotage – France
Koora Elektronické Kouřeni (KELK) – Czech Republic
Malaysia E-Vaporizers and Tobacco Alternatives (MEVTA) – Malaysia
Philippine E-Cigarette Industry Association (PECIA) – Philippines
Udruga Korisnika Osobnih Isparivača (CROHM) – Croatia
Vaping Trade Association of New Zealand (VTANZ) – New Zealand
Vapour Product Association of South Africa (VPASA) – South Africa
Verband des eZigarettenhandels (VdeH) – Germany