Public letter to WHO

WHO should reject prohibition and acknowledge ‘tobacco harm reduction’ and risk-proportionate regulation of tobacco and nicotine products that do not involve combustion as part of an effective harm reduction strategy, which is required and defined by Article 1(d) of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Treaty (FCTC)

We are the representative organisation for over 30 consumer nicotine consumer organisations globally and are concerned by the apparent support of WHO and the FCTC Secretariat for outright bans or over-regulation of low-risk alternatives to combustible tobacco. Items such as electronic cigarettes, snus and other novel nicotine products that do not involve combustion, which are often collectively referred to as either ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems) or ANDS (Alternative Nicotine Delivery Systems) have been studied by independent scientists worldwide and have been shown to carry 5% or less risk than combustible tobacco.

It is smoke from combustion that causes the overwhelming burden of disease, and there is no serious doubt that non-combustible products (ENDS/ANDS) are far less harmful than cigarettes.

We regard prohibition of these products as unethical, unscientific, damaging to public health and an irrational protection of the cigarette trade.

We regard excessive regulation or taxation of ENDS/ANDS as counterproductive and negligent as harm reduction is a human right.

We believe that the FCTC mandate does not extend to ENDS/ANDS since they are NOT tobacco products.

Therefore, we respectfully submit and urge, on behalf of our member organisations, the parties to consider and agree the following measures concerning vaping products, if they wish to add it to the mandate/protocol:

  1. Acknowledge that the use of ENDS/ANDS are part of an effective harm reduction strategy, as required and defined by Article 1(d) of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Treaty (FCTC).
  2. Reverse the decision taken at COP7 to invite countries to consider regulatory measures that might include restricting or banning the manufacture, importation or use of vaping products (Decision FCTC/COP7(9) on Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems and Electronic Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems).
  3. Confirm that all Parties to the FCTC should regulate ENDS/ANDS separately to traditional combustible tobacco products as consumer products that are only subject to each individual countries consumer goods taxation structure and not subject to tobacco excise as are combustible products.

We also want to invite you to contact us directly if you have any questions or concerns.

Kind Regards,
Nancy Sutthoff
Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator
President, Governing Board

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