The World Health Organization (WHO) finally acknowledged that e-cigarettes are less harmful relative to cigarettes.
The acknowledgment came from WHO representative Dr. Ranti Fayokun, scientist in the National Capacity-Tobacco Control Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases during the hearing on vaping regulation conducted by the House of Representatives in December.
Dr. Fayokun’s admission was made amidst the organization’s cautious stand on e-cigarettes despite the mounting scientific evidence that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes.
Public Health England has always maintained that e-cigarettes are 95 percent less harmful than tobacco and has encouraged smokers who can’t quit smoking to switch to the less harmful alternative.
The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine in 2018 released a report stating that “completely switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes will reduce exposure to numerous toxicants and carcinogens found in cigarettes”.
“They (World Health Organization) are saying if you are a country that cannot produce regulation and cannot enforce regulation, you must ban. That, to me, is a contradiction. A country cannot regulate perfectly, but the last thing it should do is ban because the black market will proliferate. This is an issue that is extremely important to children. If we ban things, if we do not regulate things, we create a black market that does not care about children, that does not care about elderly people, that does not care about us at all,” Dr. Andrew da Roza, an addictions psychotherapist and lawyer, said at the congressional hearing.
A ban on electronic cigarettes and heat-not-burn tobacco products will only create a black market that will be disastrous to public health, according to international public health experts who attended the hearing.
“If you ban them, there will simply be a black market. When the United States banned alcohol in the 1900s, that did not work out,” said Dr. Andrew da Roza.