It doesn’t get better. What the WHO has done is exactly what the FDA did in its deeming reguations. It’s even added a new and hideous acronym — ENNDS — to the tobacco control lexicon, perhaps in preparation for matching the FDA’s bizarre attempt to control zero-nicotine e-liquids. It has cherry picked evidence to support a preordained position, and framed each argument as a polar choice between safe and unsafe.
Use of vapor products, of course, is relatively safe. The major reviews of evidence on vaping — by Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians — have looked at all of the evidence, weighed it, and estimated the risk to be very, very low (95-100 percent safer than smoking). Absolute safety is the demand of people who want the product demonized, damaged and – they really, really hope — gone.
The concern is entirely about “the recruitment of minors and non-smokers into the nicotine-dependent population.” As it is for the ban-happy FDA, there is no other issue for the WHO.
Six million smokers die prematurely each year. But smokers just don’t factor into the FCTC’s priorities. They don’t even consider that children depend on those smokers. The WHO’s concern is strictly about some hypothetical kids who may become “nicotine dependent.” They use boilerplate fear mongering, and quote surveys that measure last-30-day use and imply habitual use.
“Use among non-smoking youth in Florida, USA and Poland has increased by a factor of five and eight respectively in three years, to reach a prevalence of 6.9% and 13% in these jurisdictions.” Scary, right? Nothing about the Monitoring the Future survey that shows few regular teen vapers, and few that use nicotine.
When the worry is children, what are the first targets of attack?
“Flavour is one of several significant product appeal factors that influences people’s willingness to try ENDS,” they write. “Certain flavours, such as fruit and confectionary or candy-like aromas, appeal to children, younger never-smokers and young ENDS/ENNDS beginners and may therefore play a role in motivating experimentation among them.”
Objective: prevent the initiation of ENDS/ENNDS by non-smokers and youth with special attention to vulnerable groups. Although the debate about whether the use of ENDS/ENNDS is a gateway to smoking is unresolved, preventing this eventuality requires making the initiation and persistence of smoking as difficult as possible. Parties that have not banned the importation, sale, and distribution of ENDS/ENNDS may consider the following options:
a. Banning the sale and distribution of ENDS/ENNDS to minors;
b. Banning the possession of ENDS/ENNDS by minors;
c. Banning or restricting advertising, promotion and sponsorship of ENDS/ENNDS;
d. Taxing ENDS/ENNDS at a level that makes the devices and e-liquids unaffordable to minors in order to deter its use in this age group. In parallel, combustible tobacco products should be taxed at a higher level than ENDS/ENNDS to deter initiation and reduce regression to smoking;
e. Banning or restricting the use of flavours that appeal to minors;
f. Regulating places, density and channels of sales; and
g. Taking measures to combat illicit trade in ENDS/ENNDS.
– FCTC report to COP7 delegates
Anything jump out at you? Restricting advertising, taxing to reduce use, banning flavors, regulating sales outlets…which is your favorite prohibition?