who report 2019LONDON 30th July: The World Health Organization’s recent report on the global tobacco epidemic will do little but perpetuate smoking by making non-combustible alternatives to smoking like electronic cigarettes less accessible, more expensive and less consumer friendly, the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) said in a statement Tuesday.

The latest iteration of the WHO’s report on the global tobacco epidemic, called “Offering help to quit tobacco use”, advocates for stricter legislation of e-cigs, asserting there is no proof they help smokers quit their habit, and could even be a gateway to tobacco addiction for young people.

Whilst the NNA, a leading educational charity concerned with improving public health through a greater understanding of risk-reduced nicotine products, supports an effective regulatory environment for nicotine delivery devices, it is our strong view that this new report from the WHO completely ignores credible third-party scientific evidence, including Cancer Research UK and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), of the harm reduction potential afforded by such products.

Public Health England research has shown that vaping is at least 95 percent safer than cigarette smoking and 2-3 times as effective as traditional nicotine replacement therapies in helping smokers to quit, confirming the UK Royal College of Physicians’ view that vaping has "huge potential to prevent death and disability from tobacco use". A recent study, funded by the leading cancer charity, Cancer Research UK, found that people using e-cigarettes to quit smoking are about 95 per cent more likely to report success than those trying to quit without help from any stop-smoking aids.

The WHO report reiterates the discredited argument that e-cigarettes are a gateway for young people to start smoking. Yet only last month, research published by anti-smoking charity, ASH, found that vaping remains uncommon among young people and is almost exclusively confined to current or past smokers.

Most teen vaping is experimental and short-lived, with Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, saying at the time: “We need to be vigilant and continue to monitor e-cigarette use among young people. However, smoking prevalence among children and young adults in Britain has fallen substantially since 2010, which doesn’t indicate that vaping has been a gateway into smoking.”

On the WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic 2019, NNA Chair Martin Cullip said:

“The UK boasts some 1.7 million former smokers who have converted from smoking to exclusively vaping instead. It is extremely likely that this behavioural shift has been driven by the availability of e-cigarettes and their promotion by public health in the UK. If the WHO truly wants to drive down smoking rates, it must consider the growing body of evidence that vaping is an effective way to help people to quit. The WHO and the tobacco control lobby seem to have abandoned health altogether in favour of just attacking industry.”

Issued on behalf of the New Nicotine Alliance

Note to Editors: The NNA is a registered UK charity staffed by consumer volunteers, formed to increase understanding about the benefits of “new” risk-reduced nicotine products and a better recognition of long-term recreational use of nicotine as a powerful incentive for smoking cessation. We wish to see a mature public and organisational understanding of the potential of safer nicotine products for reducing cigarette smoking, including their safety and efficacy, and hence contribute to the reduction in cigarette smoking. This requires engaging with and informing a wide range of individuals and audiences – from health through to regulatory bodies.

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