Medical Specialists Appeal To WHO On Tobacco Harm Reduction

Look to make tobacco harm reduction a higher priority through noncombustible nicotine delivery, including e-cig and vapor products.

Last week, more than 50 leading scientists from 15 countries signed a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) to ask the WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan to reconsider the WHO’s intention to classify e-cigarettes essentially the same as regular cigarettes, Wells Fargo Securities reported.

“The scientists warned that that WHO risks missing an opportunity to drastically reduce smoking and the illness and death associated with it, if e-cigarettes and other vapor products are classified as tobacco products,” said Bonnie Herzog, managing director, beverage, tobacco & convenience store research, Wells Fargo Securities LLC.

The scientists were apparently reacting to a leaked document from a FCTC preparatory meeting, indicating that the WHO considers e-cigarettes a “threat” to public health and intends to sideline their use as an accessible alternative to regular tobacco and cigarettes.

The scientists included 10 “principles” to serve as the backbone to the public health approach to tobacco harm reduction, including: (1) Tobacco harm reduction is part of the solution, not part of the problem and (2) Targets and indicators for reduction of tobacco consumption should be aligned with the ultimate goal of reducing disease and premature death, not nicotine use per se, and therefore focus primarily on reducing smoking.

“We are very encouraged that there appears to be a broad belief among health professionals and scientists around the world in the benefits of e-cigs/vapor and the vast public health opportunity such products present,” said Herzog.





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