An excellent new report has just been published by the Reason Foundation. Entitled "The Vapour Revolution: How Bottom-Up Innovation Is Saving Lives", it charts the innovation that has taken place since the first cigalikes were invented and marketed in China, to the devices that we have today. Amongst other things, it also looks at the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as a means of giving up smoking, concludes that "while some youths probably do take up smoking after experimenting with vaping, considerably more youths are vaping instead of smoking", and looks at the approach to regulation by governments and the role of the World Health Organisation (WHO). It really is a report well worth reading.
I want to highlight this paragraph, though - a message to WHO, one that it should take on board, however, I don't have any faith that it will:
"The World Health Organisation and its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) exert considerable influence on domestic policies towards tobacco in many countries. In 2014, at the 6th Conference of the Parties to the FCTC, parties left open how best to regulate vape products. Since then, the evidence of public health benefits from vape products has been mounting - as documented in this study. It is important that governments meeting for the seventh Conference of the Parties to the FCTC, which will take place in Delhi in November 2016, take on board this new evidence and support policies that do not impose unnecessary impediments to the development, promotion, sale, and use of vape products."
The seventh Conference of the Parties (COP7) takes place in India in November. Many people have different theories as to why WHO is so hostile to vaping. Some will say it is because of the influence large pharmaceutical companies have over it. There is no doubt that pharmaceutical companies do have huge clout and employ lobbyists to ensure their voice is heard, but for me there is another reason - one that I think goes to the heart of the strategies of those who work in the anti-tobacco business.
After decades of tobacco harm reduction policies by international organisations and governments, it was the free market that came up with the solution. Vaping works - ask the millions of people around the world who have given up smoking or have substantially reduced the amount they smoke because they vape. WHO just can't stand that and is determined that we should all give up nicotine in all forms and through attempted draconian measures, is determined to make sure vaping fails.
That says a lot about its mindset. It would rather people continue to smoke than admit the free market was more effective in tobacco harm reduction than it was. It's about saving face, not saving lives.