• August 7, 2020

‘WHO pursuing stealth prohibition’

Japan Tobacco International has criticized the World Health Organization’s (WHO) approach toward so-called next-generation products.

“During meetings held behind closed doors at the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control’s (FCTC) seventh session of the Conference of Parties (COP7), taking place this week in Greater Noida, India, parties are discussing a WHO report recommending the excessive regulation of next-generation products such as e-cigarettes with the hidden aim of prohibition still clearly in its sights,” JTI wrote in a press note.

“A previous WHO ENDS/ENNDS report, published at COP6 in Moscow (2014) pressed Parties to ban or, at minimum, regulate vaping devices. Having now backed down on the recommendation, the new report does, however, recommend to ban advertising—which could help inform consumers’ choice on products that have the potential to reduce risks—and severely restrict flavorings. This is a clear attempt to diminish consumer awareness and acceptability of this category and is verging on a de facto ban,” wrote JTI.

“The vaping industry is developing new technologies all the time, so these latest pronouncements are not only another rush to judgement, but a perverse approach for a UN agency on health to adopt when, for example, Public Health England stated that, based on available evidence, vaping is likely 95 percent safer than cigarettes,” Ian Jones, JTI’s head of scientific and regulatory affairs for emerging products, was quoted as saying.

According to JTI, the FCTC was set up to rule on the regulation of tobacco products, but continues to venture outside its remit by proposing regulations on vaping devices, which don’t contain tobacco.

“Why is the FCTC COP making regulatory recommendations on e-cigarettes, or so-called ENDS, when the products contain no tobacco?” asked Ian Jones. “It does not and should not have the power to give itself a mandate on e-cigarettes because regulating, never mind prohibiting, in such a reactionary and ideological way means a setback for scientific research and development of potentially reduced risk products.

“Besides, we still don’t know who the ‘independent scientists’ of the WHO’s report on ENDS/ENNDS are, which in the current climate of conflicting science begs the question: what have they got to hide? A more considered approach is required, than cherry picking the worse-case studies and making unsubstantiated ‘guesses’ on expected health risks.”