Press release

The New Nicotine Alliance calls on the UK delegation to promote our country’s remarkable success with safer nicotine products at the World Health Organization’s COP8 summit in Geneva.

  • The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is holding its eighth biennial Conference of the Parties (COP) in Geneva from 1st to 6th October
  • The NNA calls on the UK delegation to take this opportunity to raise global awareness about the significant reduction in smoking prevalence enjoyed by this country as a result of light touch regulation of e-cigarettes and other alternatives to smoking
  • Developed nations are reaping great dividends from tobacco harm reduction, smokers in less affluent countries have a right to be afforded the same opportunities
  • The NNA encourages the UK delegation to resist prohibition of safer nicotine delivery products and reject bans on publicising them

LONDON, 28 September, 2018: The FCTC’s COP8 summit in Geneva presents a great opportunity for UK delegates to promote the UK’s dramatic success with e-cigarettes. The New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) is calling on UK delegates to communicate to global public health representatives the clear and unequivocal message that e-cigarettes and other alternative nicotine products are far safer than combustible tobacco and should be treated as such.

“E-cigarettes are a proven safer alternative to smoking and the UK boasts over 1.7 million former smokers who have converted from combustible tobacco to exclusively vaping instead. In the UK, the government has wisely recognised the significant benefits that tobacco harm reduction strategies can achieve and, as a result of positive messaging towards vaping with campaigns such as Stoptober, has seen smoking prevalence dramatically plummet in recent years.” said NNA Chair Sarah Jakes.

“COP8 is a perfect opportunity for the UK to showcase this success and share our positive experience with the world. How can it be right that developed nations are enjoying great results in reducing the use of combustible tobacco by making safer alternatives available to smokers but sit by as less affluent nations are being railroaded into banning them by the WHO?”

The UK government’s Tobacco Control Plan committed to back innovative products in its drive to encourage smokers to quit, and its recommendations are evidence-based and designed to maximise the benefits of safer nicotine delivery. The World Health Organization recognises tobacco harm reduction as a guiding principle of its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, so it is quite wrong that it currently invites nations to prohibit use of these products.

“The WHO likes to talk about the right to health, but why is a smoker in India or Africa less entitled to access products which could help them quit smoking than a smoker in the UK or Canada?”, said Jakes, “Furthermore, we have heard worrying reports that the EU is planning to petition the FCTC to call for a global ban on e-cigarette advertising. It would be scandalous if the UK delegation is complicit in such an unwise move and goes against the government’s commitment to improve availability of innovative products. What is the point of talking positively of safer alternatives while simultaneously stopping smokers from seeing any publicity about them?

“In Geneva, the UK’s representatives have a golden opportunity to promote the UK’s success with safer nicotine products. We provide the FCTC with generous funding to reduce smoking rates in underdeveloped nations. We would therefore urge the government to use the influence our financial contribution brings and do the right thing. That is to reject prohibition of harm reduction which less affluent nations feel obliged to implement due to WHO misinformation, urge the FCTC to adhere to its own articles on the subject, and resist restrictions on promotion of less harmful alternatives to smoking”

Issued on behalf of the New Nicotine Alliance


1.7 million e-cigarette users in the UK are ex smokers
ASH Fact Sheet: Use of e-cigarettes (vapourisers) among adults in Great Britain, September 2018, accessed via “New data shows smokers are getting the message on e-cigarettes”

UK Tobacco Control Plan: “Backing evidence based innovations to support quitting” (page 5)  

The EU throws vapers under the bus again  

£15 million contribution to FCTC

WHO recognises tobacco harm reduction as a guiding principle of FCTC
Article 1(d) of the FCTC