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World No Tobacco Day is a missed opportunity, says the New Nicotine Alliance

• The World Health Organisation is misleading in attributing a raised risk of heart and cardiovascular disease to tobacco, rather than smoking.

• The WHO could achieve improved results by adhering to its own stated commitments to tobacco harm reduction and providing opportunities to the public to make informed choices.

• Grass roots tobacco harm reduction campaigns have been instrumental in driving considerable reductions in smoking prevalence in many nations.

• World No Tobacco Day should be an opportunity to raise global awareness of innovative modern alternatives to smoking.

Speaking on World No Tobacco Day 2018, the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) called upon the World Health Organisation to show leadership in highlighting the considerable public health potential of reduced risk products.

“E-cigarettes are a proven safer alternative to smoking which a great many people find an acceptable substitute. They have contributed to record falls in smoking prevalence in the UK.”, said Sarah Jakes, chair of NNA.

“There have also been big declines in smoking prevalence in France and the USA due to uptake of innovative products, while Sweden and Norway boast by far the lowest smoking rates in Europe thanks to the widespread use of snus, a tobacco product which carries a fraction of the risk of smoking lit tobacco.

“The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was founded with a commitment to encourage tobacco harm reduction. Its Ottawa Charter and Jakarta Declaration also pledge to put people at the heart of decision-making and to support and enable consumers to keep themselves, their families and friends healthy. Yet these goals appear to have been abandoned in favour of blindly attacking industry, ignoring the global success of alternative nicotine products and refusing to engage with consumers.

“On World No Tobacco Day, it is time for leadership from the WHO in educating governments that e-cigarettes are not tobacco products as some states wrongly categorise them, and emphasising that it is the act of lighting tobacco and smoking it which is harmful to heart and cardiovascular disease, not tobacco in all its forms. In 1976, Michael Russell famously said "people smoke for nicotine but they die from the tar", leading to an acceptance of the nicotine replacement therapy market we have today. Yet increasingly the public are being misled into believing nicotine is a problem, when it can be a solution.

“World No Tobacco Day should be a great opportunity to raise awareness of far safer alternative nicotine products to maximise benefits to public health worldwide. The WHO should be empowering people to take control of their health by way of clear messages on differing risks and the relative safety of nicotine, but this year they have sadly missed the target.”, said Sarah Jakes.

The NNA would like to see a greater commitment by the WHO and NGOs to correcting ideological opposition to successful consumer-driven solutions to lit tobacco, and a better recognition of long-term recreational use of nicotine as a powerful incentive for smoking cessation.


Issued on behalf of the New Nicotine Alliance

Contact: Sarah Jakes 0300 302 0029


Note to Editors: The New Nicotine Alliance is a charity concerned with improving public health, through a greater understanding of “new” (risk-reduced) nicotine products and their uses.

Sources
WHO | World No Tobacco Day
World Health Organization page http://www.who.int/mediacentre/events/2018/world-no-tobacco-day/en/

UK smoking fall
UKCTAS press release issued 15.06.2017, Vaping may help explain record fall in UK smoking rates http://ukctas.net/smoking-rates-uk-2017

France smoking fall
France had a million fewer smokers in 2017: ministry ,AFP
https://au.news.yahoo.com/france-had-million-fewer-smokers-2017-ministry-142637749--spt.html?guccounter=1

Norway smoking fall
Norway 1% smoking rate: among young women smoking fell from 30% to 1% in sixteen years: Norwegian Smoking Data (select data using tick icons and then download to Excel).https://www.ssb.no/en/statbank/table/05307/?rxid=fba52324-e745-43b1-8740-058b118535f6 and bottom of Mirror article: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/hospitals-sell-e-cigarettes-sick-11975398

Sweden smoking fall
Daily smoking fell in Sweden from 8% to 5% over the last three years. See page 27 of EU Eurobarometer 2017. http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm/Survey/getSurveyDetail/instruments/SPECIAL/surveyKy/2146

Health impact of snus
The Lancet: Global Burden of Disease Study, 2017: No evidence of harm being done by long-term use of snus ”for any health outcome” page1364. http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(17)32366-8.pdf

WHO Ottawa Charter
http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/129532/Ottawa_Charter.pdf

WHO Jakarta Declaration
http://www.who.int/healthpromotion/milestones_ch4_20090916_en.pdf

WHO refuses to engage with consumers
NNA blog, The WHO abuses its authority, published 29.05.2018 https://nnalliance.org/blog/244-the-who-abuses-its-authority

Increased public misperceptions about nicotine as harmful
Public Health England, Evidence review of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products - McNeill A, Brose LS, Calder R, Bauld L & Robson D (2018). https://www.gov.uk/government/news/phe-publishes-independent-expert-e-cigarettes-evidence-review