WHO – doesn’t listen to the Dr.

by Steve Barrett

WHO – doesn’t listen to the Dr.

This week (29th August) the World Health Organisation issued an initial report into electronic cigarettes and vaping.

There were some positive steps in this report and some recommendations that fell well short of a sensible and realistic approach to the growing vaping revolution. 

Electronic Cigarettes have the potential to radically change the smoking habits of millions of people - to enjoy a much safer vehicle for nicotine stimulus and eradicate the serious carcinogenic elements present in tobacco cigarettes. It remains incomprehensible that the World Health Organisation would not embrace this technology and support the reduction of tobacco smokers in society. Where does the reluctance come from – is it cigarette company lobbying? Is it government lobbying for tax revenue losses? The conspiracy theories are rampant – but certainly questions have to be asked.

The Positive

  • Restricting the sale of devices to over 18’s.

A positive step that already exists in any responsible retailer.

Choosing vaping over smoking is an adult decision, as is buying cigarettes, so this age limit should be cohesive.

  • The Future is Bright

Their view is that e-cigarettes “represent an evolving frontier filled with promise and threat to tobacco control”. On balance this would seem an intelligent basis from which to enact practical and levelheaded regulation into the industry.

Middle Ground

  • Restriction on Advertising

e-cigarette advertAccording to enlightened scientists and health practitioners vaporised nicotine is no more harmful than caffeine and certainly not as damaging as alcohol, but these ‘drugs’ are advertised freely. All independent vaping bodies ask for is a level playing field. Advertising vaping may help move smokers from tobacco to vaping – this has to be a good thing – no argument.

The Negatives

  • Don’t Class Vapers as Smokers

The report went on to advise a ban on all indoor vaping. This is due to, in their words, “e-cigarettes increasing the exposure of non-smokers and bystanders to nicotine and a number of toxicants”.

e-cigarette use indoorsA more proactive approach would be to advise establishments that may come into contact with vaping: bars, restaurants, casinos etc. to create a vaping section, where vapers can vape freely amongst other vapers. Thereby not molesting other patrons and not being classed as smokers and thrust into the outside abyss.This is where the report is flawed as the group of international health professionals, including Professor Robert West (Leading UK Addition Expert) and Professor Peter Hayak, (Queen Mary University), have clearly stated to the WHO that no toxins are present in the exhaled vapour, following extensive laboratory testing at Queens University, London. Their test showed that the toxin level was the same as a non-smoker’s exhaled breath.

The research on toxins exhaled is clear and freely available – with this recommendation they have simply chosen to ignore global health professionals and made a completely uninformed, amateur decision.

  • The Great Flavour Debate

The report also suggested a ban on some of the ‘sweeter’ and drinks flavours available in e-liquids, as these may be attractive to adolescents. The WHO has shown little understanding of the concept of tobacco smoking with this recommendation. As a smoker reduces or cuts out the use of traditional cigarettes their taste buds and senses reawaken. Most ex-smokers realise that they actually detest the acrid taste of burning tobacco, simply having been indoctrinated with this taste by seeking the nicotine stimulus.

e-cigarette flavoursIf adolescents are trying vaping, is that not a better step than having this age group take up tobacco cigarettes.The plethora of flavours that exist do so to make the electronic cigarette experience a pleasant one to the taste buds. The vaper enjoys subtle hints of the branded flavour and in no way do they represent an attractive proposition to adolescents. From the countless global surveys carried out there is no evidence to suggest that e-cigarette use is a gateway to smoking. Again, the WHO has ignored the available research.

  • The Influx of Tobacco Companies

The fact of the matter is that cigarette companies are businesses not charities – of course, they are going to diversify as the market place changes -they have shareholders to please. Governing bodies and regulatory authorities must simply manage this changing market. In our experience, vapers do not trust tobacco companies and the independents are the future of vaping.

purplebox vapours would welcome an authorised retailer programme that ensures we are both:

  • fully informed and trained in order to offer the best possible advice to customers
  • selling legitimate, reputable, high class products

We would also welcome legislation that forces a retailer to decide whether to sell traditional cigarettes or the electronic variety – not both. This forces a retailer to make a choice and sell electronic cigarettes for the right reasons not as simply a revenue stream.

Finally – there is evidence to suggest that vaping does indeed help a person reduce or stop smoking more successfully than other established treatments – some of this evidence is anecdotal – but that’s not a bad thing – personal experience can be extremely informative.

The frightening element of the WHO report is that it seems not to want to curtail the use of tobacco cigarettes. It has been stated that governments plan macro financial estimates and social development, population growth and its consequences on the number of people expected to die in a population in correlation with the number of people that smoke. If 20% of a population smokes from 15-60 cigarettes per day then most will not be a social or monetary burden past the age of 65. This, rather callously, is taken into account when calculating long-term socio-economic policy. There is no room for sentiment in national financial planning. A frightful thought indeed.

Let’s hope that the WHO sees sense and does listen to feedback from health professionals that recognise the effect vaping can have on society over the coming years. Legislation and regulation is needed to assure the industry grows in the right direction but let’s not seal the fate of millions of smokers by ignoring the true facts.

Let us know your thoughts.

Steve Barrett
Steve Barrett


Steve is passionate about changing people's lives for the better by helping them switch to vaping. Life is definitely more colourful smoke free. purplebox vapours is built upon expert advice, customer service and helping you choose the right product to make your vaping journey a success.

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