WHO’s latest vape misinformation ‘disappointing’

Amsterdam, January 22nd 2020 – Fontem Ventures, owner of vape brand blu, believes a recent vape-related briefing from the World Health Organisation (WHO), published January 21, contained a series of misleading and erroneous claims, as well as ignoring key scientific evidence supporting the category’s continuing contribution to tobacco harm reduction.

Among other statements the briefing:

  • Wrongly intimated a debate still existed over the dangers of vaping versus smoking
  • Wrongly implied the US outbreak of EVALI was caused by vaping nicotine-containing products
  • Wrongly suggested vaping was harmful to bystanders, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary
  • Wrongly stated e-liquids were “highly flammable”

Our more detailed commentary on each claim can be found here.

Ross Parker, Director of Corporate & Legal Affairs at Fontem Ventures, stated:

“It’s both puzzling and disappointing the WHO has implied vaping could be more harmful than smoking given its significant influence and reputation on matters of public health.

“This is unhelpful at best – and a dereliction of duty at worst – to both adult smokers and the wider public, who deserve to be accurately informed on the relative risks of these behaviours.”

Article 1(d) of the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) defines tobacco control as “a range of supply, demand and harm reduction strategies that aim to improve the health of a population by eliminating or reducing their consumption of tobacco products and exposure to tobacco smoke.

Vaping products contain no tobacco[1], and peer-reviewed scientific evidence[2] suggests switching from cigarettes substantially reduces exposure to the harmful toxicants[3] found in combustible tobacco smoke.


[1] https://www.blu.com/en/US/explore/explore-vaping/e-liquid/what-is-an-eliquid.html

[2] Article 14 The WHO FCTC states that “each Party shall develop and disseminate appropriate, comprehensive and integrated guidelines based on scientific evidence and best practices, taking into account national circumstances and priorities, and shall take effective measures to promote cessation of tobacco use and adequate treatment for tobacco dependence” The body of scientific evidence supporting the harm reduction potential of vaping is now significant and a useful summary can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/457102/Ecigarettes_an_evidence_update_A_report_commissioned_by_Public_Health_England_FINAL.pdf

[3] https://gfn.net.co/archive/downloads/2018/POSTERS/Grant%20O’Connell%20(POSTER%20II).pdf

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