For World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) is reminding people of the “fundamental role” lungs play in human health (who knew?)

The annual event highlights the devastating effects of tobacco use and encourages smokers around the world to pack up for good.

Each year has a specific campaign focus. Recent years have targeted heart disease, tobacco’s threat to global development and support of the roll-out of unbranded cigarette packets.

This year’s campaign is centred around tobacco and lung health.

However, the WHO continues to be criticised by vape industry figures and harm reduction advocates for persistently supporting vaping bans and denying the efficacy of e-cigarettes as public health tools.

John Dunne, board member for the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) said in a press release:

“There is a growing bank of evidence which shows that vaping is 95% less harmful than smoking, including studies from the respected and independent Public Health England, Cancer Research UK and Action on Smoking and Health.

“Despite this the WHO continue to confuse and dissuade smokers from switching to vaping, potentially prolonging the harmful effects of smoking on those people.”

He added:

“[…] The WHO themselves recognise the potential for vaping to help people make the switch, so they need to stop contradicting themselves and base their policies on scientific evidence.

“Switching to vaping really could see the sort of tobacco-free society that the WHO are encouraging through World Tobacco Free Day.”

The WHO maintains a contradictory stance on e-cigarettes. The agency recognises them as effective stop-smoking aids, yet encourages member states to ban them as part of a tobacco control plan.

This, critics argue, may deter smokers from attempting to swap tobacco for a less-harmful alternative.

Image: World Health Organization