In its pre-conference guidance to member countries, the WHO continues to insist that safer nicotine products, such as vapes or e-cigarettes, are as harmful and dangerous as combustible tobacco and should be banned or heavily restricted.
“Stop lying to us and only provide guidance based on sound scientific facts, methodologies and principles,” said the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) and the other groups launching the Right2Switch petition. The initiative will be launched during the upcoming 2021 Voices4Vape webinar and can be viewed at change.org/v4v-petition.
The online seminar will be held on the 21st of March 2021, between 1pm and 3pm. Consumers and advocates of safer nicotine products in the Asia-Pacific region, will be using the seminar as a platform to discuss the need for effective public health policy in addressing the smoking epidemic, using the same science and principles used to contain Covid-19.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has focused global attention on the need for rational measures to reduce risks, effectively treat those afflicted and develop vaccines. This is entirely consistent with longstanding public health goals of reducing risks wherever they are found, and the importance of empowering people to improve their health,” said Nancy Loucas, Executive Coordinator of CAPHRA.
The petition draws attention to innacuracies presented in the pre-conference guidance
Loucas said that the petition is being launched ahead of the next biennial meeting of the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in November 2021, in order to raise the issues regarding the WHO’s counterproductive stance. She pointed out that in its pre-conference guidance to member countries, the WHO continues to insist that safer nicotine products, such as vapes or e-cigarettes, are as harmful and dangerous as combustible tobacco and should be banned or heavily restricted.
In line with countless scientific studies from across the globe, she said that the WHO’s claim is unsubstantiated and simply untrue, as vaping has been life-changing for many smokers in all parts of the world, helping millions of former smokers quit cigarettes.
Regulations should be based on science
To this effect, the petition implores the WHO and health authorities around the world, to regulate based on sound scientific facts that include stakeholder (consumer) participation as part of the decision-making process.
“Don’t discriminate against smokers, or users of safer nicotine products, because they aren’t doing what you want them to do. We strive to make people feel safe, respected, empowered, fairly treated and duly recognized,” says the petition, adding, “Don’t use the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to disregard our rights to choose alternatives. We are guided by the best available science, evidence and technical expertise. We continuously develop ourselves and innovate to respond to a changing world.”
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