Secret Meeting This Week Could Have Massive Impact On The Vaping Industry Around The World
Vaping Advocacy group is pressuring the UK to support e-cigarettes in their upcoming closed-door WHO meeting
The public perception problem is one that most vapers are very well aware of. It seems that despite the piles of research indicating the extreme harm reduction value of e-cigarettes, a vast majority of adults are under the impression that vaping is just as bad, if not more dangerous than tobacco. Polls have concluded that indeed, only around 13% of individuals understand that vaping is much safer than smoking. This negative reputation of vaping feeds into the media coverage, and in turn makes the reputation even worse.
It’s not just the media though, as many prominent public health agencies have been skeptical of the real world applications of vaporizers. The World Health Organization, or WHO, has been right at the forefront of this battle, having on several occasions warned of severe risks to vaping without much of any evidence to support themselves. It’s likely because of this reputation that a vaping advocacy group based in the UK, the New Nicotine Alliance (NNA) recently urged the nation to take a firm stance in support of vaporizers.
The New Nicotine Alliance Concerns
The New Nicotine Alliance is one of the largest and most influential vaping advocacy groups in the UK. Ahead of next week’s WHO Tobacco Control Conference, representatives from the NNA laid out to the UK delegation precisely why they believe they should defend the vaping industry as a valuable tool. Their press release referenced the sustained success the UK has experienced in lowering smoking and death rates by accepting and incorporating vaping into their existent smoking cessation campaigns, such as Stoptober.
The NNA seems to firmly believe that if the UK lays out their successes, they may not just protect vaping moving forward, but it could actually be a catalyst for change elsewhere. They also worry that the negative perception within the WHO is leading to smaller and less wealthy countries to ban vaping products, whereas first world countries tend to allow them. The results of acceptance and proper utilization are clear, the smoking rate has never been lower in most places where vaping thrives, and some areas are even working toward becoming “smoke-free” over the next 20 years.
The Secretive WHO Meeting
The latest meeting of the WHO Tobacco Control Conference is set for Geneva, Switzerland this week. It’s becoming very unlikely that the public will know what goes on in these meetings, as the first thing voted on by the committee during the last two sessions was to ban the media or public from the proceedings. As such, there is an extra incentive for groups like the NNA to make their case now. These meetings have traditionally served as a medium for health leaders of different nations and the WHO itself to discuss health policy. But it’s also often seen as a way to bully less powerful countries into blindly following leadership.
Among their blatant pushes of robust vaping regulation, the WHO may actually be making matters worse for those looking to quit. This includes the decision to support moving vapers into the same specialized areas as smokers. While at first, this may seem like it makes sense, critics reference the obvious flaw in forcing people who are recovering smokers into the same small areas as smokers actively smoking. This is akin to forcing a recovering alcoholic to go into bars to drink their favorite replacement. If vaping must be forced into designated areas, they must at the very least be kept entirely separate from smoking areas.
It will likely be incredibly hard to know what happens in the WHO meeting this week. We’ll only ever get the official story from the UK government and the WHO. But we can hope that the NNA’s pleas will have made some type of impact on the future of vaping regulation. Public perception is simply too low for e-cigarettes to reach their full potential, but an endorsement of any kind from agencies like the WHO and FDA could mean millions of more smokers trying to quit using vaporizers. This will likely prove to be one of the biggest keys to ending the smoking epidemic once and for all.
Do you think the WHO is having a significant impact on vaping regulations around the world? Should we be worried about the poor public perception of vaping? How do you think we could best teach people about the benefits of vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.