INNCO: "Banning e-cigarettes hinders sustainable development"

The WHO must reconsider its approach to e-cigarettes and other harm reduction products. This is according to the organisation INNCO, which is launching an international campaign.
"Smokers should have the right and a realistic opportunity to choose less harmful alternatives to cigarettes. This is a human right," writes INNCO.

In February leaked information that the WHO's working group The World Health Organisation is planning to propose tighter restrictions on e-cigarettes and alternative nicotine products. Many organisations now fear that the WHO's hard line will affect users and smokers all over the world. Especially in low-income countries, where a structured system to help smokers quit is not in place.

"It proposes simplistic solutions to a complex problem. Banning electronic cigarettes and similar products is a blunt tool to address a problem that requires pragmatism and nuanced thinking. Banning harm reduction alternatives hinders sustainable development and makes anti-smoking efforts more difficult." writes INNCO, the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations.

Believes that bans are harmful

Several countries have banned the sale of e-cigarettes completely, while others have bans flavouring in the e-liquid. According to INNCO, this means that smokers are ultimately left with two options: stop using nicotine or die.

"The prohibitionist mentality is outdated, unrealistic and destructive. It risks driving ex-smokers who use harm reduction alternatives back to cigarettes. It opens up black markets that cannot be regulated. At the same time, we are losing an innovative solution that could save millions of lives," writes INNCO.

E-cigarettes effective for smoking cessation

Such as the Road Column As previously reported, the WHO's approach to e-cigarettes has been sharply criticised. by both health professionals and researchers in the field of tobacco and addiction. According to British Public Health Agency vejping can reduce the harm from smoking by at least 95 per cent. And according to the agency's latest report e-cigarettes the most effective way to reduce tobacco smoking.

"Studies from local stop-smoking centres showed that vejpning was at the top of the list of successful quit attempts. Between 60 and 75 per cent of smokers who, with encouragement, used e-cigarettes succeeded in quitting," writes the UK Public Health Agency in its report. "Vaping in England - an evidence update 2021"

Calls for safer nicotine

INNCO, consisting of consumer-driven organisations worldwide, is now calling on politicians and authorities to take the issue of harm reduction seriously. 

"There is no benefit in restricting access to safer nicotine products. It only increases the risk of greater harm from tobacco smoking," writes INNCO.

Collecting signatures

One of INNCO's member organisations, CAPHRA, is calling on the WHO to listen to users of alternative nicotine products. The organisation is also gathering signatures for a petition to be submitted to the WHO.

"Decisions on new guidelines, and the process leading up to them, should be based on transparency, sound science and dialogue with consumers," writes CAPHRA, which hopes to get a hearing from the WHO ahead of new tobacco regulation negotiations in November 2021.

Sources for this article:
Don't let your right to choose alternatives to smoking be taken away! | #Right2Switch
New INNCO position paper outlines why bans on popular alternatives to smoking will do more harm than good

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