WHO responds to criticism over e-cigarettes with attempted censorship.
by Carl V Phillips
As many readers know, the World Health Organization (WHO) came out this week with an attack on e-cigarettes which presages them trying to pressure governments into acting against e-cigarettes. CASAA has not tried to address this in detail because (a) most of what we would have to say is generic observations of how many of the claims are wrong and proposed policies are bad, and we have already done that in other contexts, and (b) it seemed a reasonable division of labor to leave this to European supporters of tobacco harm reduction because we had to deal with theand this week. One of the Europeans who took on the WHO was Clive Bates, including with . In response to Bates’s challenge to them, WHO did not pause to consider that they might be wrong and doing harm, nor did they try to defend themselves substantively. Instead, they threatened legal action against Bates.
Bates’s position, shared by many, is that with and associated public statements, WHO is denigrating and spreading misinformation about e-cigarettes, which will tend to scare smokers away from using them to quit smoking and cause smokers who have quit to return to smoking. In addition, the government policies endorsed in the document would tend to make e-cigarettes less available and less attractive compared to smoking, further reducing switching from the high-risk product to the low-risk one. The net result would be more smoking and thus more disease and death.
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