A white paper championing the use of e-cigarettes as an effective stop-smoking aid has revealed that countries more closely following the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) anti-vaping guidance actually have higher rates of smoking.
This is interesting news for us vapers, not least because the WHO has long been skeptical about the effectiveness of e-cigarettes, with warnings on the global health body’s website over the dangers of vaping.
The 59-page paper made some very interesting findings, including:
·Countries following WHO’s guidance have higher rates of smoking
·Those with more relaxed laws on vaping have seen rates fall twice the rate of the global average
Titled “Vaping Works. International Best Practices: United Kingdom, New Zealand, France and Canada”, the paper was released by the Property Rights Alliance and consists of four case studies that assess how countries with more relaxed policies on e-cigarettes fare against those with stricter regulation, as advised by the WHO.
It demonstrates that those which adopted more progressive policies and employed a harm reduction approach towards electronic cigarettes saw their smoking rates decrease twice as fast as the global average, providing more evidence (as if we needed it) that vaping can and does help people quit smoking.
WHO continuing its witch-hunt against vaping
Not for the first time, the World Health Organisation hit the headlines recently after it again raised baseless concerns about the safety of e-cigarettes, claiming they’re “harmful to health”.
This isn’t the first time the body has gone on record to call into question the safety of vaping products. In the past, the WHO has:
·Released a report last year that suggested vaping acts as a gateway
·Claimed there is no long-term evidence for the safety of e-cigarettes
·Head of WHO called for increased regulation recently
·Constantly published anti-vaping material on its website
According to comments made by the head of the global health body, measures need to be put in place by governments to prevent people using vaping products, which is strange coming from an organisation concerned with public health when so much evidence has proven e-cigarettes are far and away the most effective nicotine replacement therapy out there.
Every year almost 80,000 people die from smoking-related illness in the UK alone, and millions around the world have now used vaping products as a successful way to quit. Considering this, it’s obvious that vaping has already saved countless lives and will continue to save countless more, so to see the WHO ignoring the mountains of evidence and continuing to push this false narrative is perplexing to say the least.
WHO proven wrong over vaping – not for the first time!
This isn’t the first time the WHO has been challenged over pushing false information about vaping. Early last year the body cautioned against the use of vaping devices and said, “there is no doubt that e-cigarettes are harmful to health and not safe”, adding that it’s “too early to provide a clear answer on the long-term impact of using them or being exposed to them”.
This prompted an angry response from public health experts here in the UK, who said the WHO was spreading “blatant misinformation” over the potential dangers of vaping.
Peter Hajek, who directs the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Mary Institute of London wrote in a statement: “The WHO has a history of anti-vaping activism that is damaging their reputation. This document is particularly malign”.
Hajek then went on to discredit another much-repeated myth that’s currently being parroted by the WHO – that vaping acts as a gateway for young people who develop a taste for nicotine and eventually end up smoking.
“There is no evidence that vaping is ‘highly addictive,’” he said. “Less than 1% of non-smokers become regular vapers. Vaping does not lead young people to smoking – smoking among young people is at an all-time low”.
Studies show vaping is an effective stop-smoking aid
There is now evidence that proves:
·Vaping helps people quit smoking
·E-cigarettes are at least 95% safer than tobacco products
·Vaping is twice as effective as other NRTs
Countless studies have shown how effective vaping can be for those looking to give up smoking. For example, a 2019 study published by the New England Journal of Medicine found that not only is vaping twice as effective as other NRT products, but 19% of participants who used e-cigarettes as a means to quit were no longer smoking 12 months on.
Add to that the large-scale study carried out by Public Health England that showed vaping is at least 95% more safe than smoking, and we have more than enough evidence to promote e-cigarettes as a safer, effective alternative to combustible tobacco products.
Not only is it disappointing to see the WHO continue its witch-hunt and push misinformation about something that could help so many, but it’s also dangerous as it could well deter people from making the life-saving decision to use vaping products as a means to quit smoking.
As the UK government quite rightly puts it on its official website, “thousands more could have quit except for unfounded safety fears about e-cigarettes. The evidence has been clear for some time that, while not risk-free, vaping is far less harmful than smoking”.
Consequences of WHO’s anti-vaping stance
So, does vaping help you quit smoking? The answer is a resounding yes, and the evidence has been there for a number of years, which makes it all the more strange to see the WHO continue to ignore it.
For now, though, it seems they intend to press on with this anti-vaping agenda and advise smokers to seek other NRT products such as nicotine gum and patches instead, despite studies proving these aren’t nearly as effective.
Hopefully the organisation will start listening to the science sooner rather than later because, as the world’s leading authority on public health, with so much reach and influence this is an organisation with the power to sway public opinion one way or another.
The consequences of a misguided, ill-informed stance from the WHO could be catastrophic, with potentially millions of people being discouraged from making the life-changing decision to quit smoking through vaping.