Earlier this year, the AVCA sent another letter to Salesa, asking the health ministry to reveal their official position on e-cigarettes, as they intend to present it at the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
The meeting of the Ninth Session of Parties (COP9) of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) will take place at The Hague next November. The WHO is renowned for its harsh stance on safer tobacco alternatives, hence why the AVCA is asking the Kiwi Government to share and make public the position they intend on taking on smoke-free nicotine products, such as e-cigarettes.
“As the Government is sending delegates to COP9, and as consumers’ rights to choose to use less harmful products to switch from smoking remain under tremendous threat from FCTC’s continuing failure to address scientific evidence, democratic processes and human rights, we respectfully request that you share with us the details of our nation’s position being presented in November by our delegation,” stated the letter signed by AVCA directors Nancy Loucas, Steven Dohmen, Jan Walsh, and Leon Coertze.
Authorities should focus on scientific evidence
Nancy Loucas points out that the WHO’s position has been influenced and compromised by vested interests that provide funds to the organisation, such as pharmaceutical companies selling NRTs like patches.
In this follow up letter, the AVCA is urging the Health Ministry to support current global scientific evidence instead. “We sincerely urge your delegates to the COP9 to uphold ‘right to health’ and the implementation of tobacco harm reduction based on factual scientific evidence, as the key strategy for tobacco control addressing the existing gaps,” writes the association.
AVCA Director Nancy Loucas, pointed out once again that consumers have been effectively excluded by the WHO-FCTC, so it is entirely up to the Ministry of Health to represent the interests of the Kiwi public. “We need you to represent our interests based on pragmatic decisions based on current scientific evidence and verified information on the benefits of the reduced risk products.”
“There are numerous scientific studies and statistical evidence reports that prove the harms of these products are no more than five percent of the harms of combustible tobacco. Nicotine is no more addictive than caffeine, and hundreds of thousands of smokers worldwide have been successful switching off combustible tobacco using ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems), HTPs (heated tobacco products) as well as snus,” wrote the AVCA
The WHO continues to spread misinformation
In line with arguments by countless other harm reduction experts and entities, Ms Loucas said that despite such evidence, the WHO-FCTC continues to issue information, reports and guidance that contains several inaccuracies with regards to e-cigarettes. The WHO inaccurately claims that ENDS and smokeless alternatives do not help smokers quit smoking; are more harmful than combustible tobacco; and that nicotine is equivalent to heroin in terms of addictiveness. Loucas points out that the WHO’s position has been influenced and compromised by vested interests that provide funds to the organisation, such as pharmaceutical companies selling NRTs like patches.
“This vested interest has coloured the information in order to serve the political and financial interests of Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Gates Foundation who provide nearly half of all the funding for the WHO-FCTC. The WHO is lying to you to protect their own financial interests and keep their private donors happy. They are not objective. They are not focused on their own mandate under FCTC to promote the health of the people and their right to have information to make informed choices regarding their health,” said Loucas.