The Vaping Industry Trade Association (VITA) is calling on Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos to take a strong leadership stance in defense of harm reduction at the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). In doing so, it would help ensure that reduced harm alternatives like vaping products remain an attractive option for adult smokers who can’t, won’t, or struggle to quit cigarettes.
“For reasons that defy scientific evidence and public health, WHO continues to advocate a position that would essentially treat tobacco and vaping products in the same manner, which is counterproductive to the concept of harm reduction. If WHO pushes that agenda at COP9, Minister Duclos needs to reject it as it would severely undermine Canada’s traditional support for harm reduction,” stated Daniel David, President of VITA.
Medical and scientific bodies from around the world, including The Royal College of Physicians (UK) have concluded that vaping products are at least 95% less harmful than smoking cigarettes, and Health Canada acknowledges that vaping is a less harmful option for smokers.
“You can go on Health Canada’s website today and it says ‘vaping is less harmful than smoking.’ That being the case, Canada cannot adopt a global framework from WHO suggesting otherwise. It will only create confusion and undermine the potential for smokers to make the transition to vaping,” stated David.
“If Canada adopts a WHO framework that treats tobacco and vaping products in the same manner, we will have taken a massive step backwards for public health. There is no justification for taking a stance that will create further public confusion about the significant and well-established harm reduction value that vaping represents for adult smokers.” stated David.
The signatories to the FCTC will gather from November 8 to 13 for the FCTC’s COP9. While Canada has not published its list of attendees, it is presumed to be led by Health Canada officials.
“These WHO meetings on the FCTC are notoriously secretive, often even barring the media. Minister Duclos needs to tell Canada’s 1.2 million vapers if he will defend their interests and health from the activist WHO agenda,” stated David.
VITA is calling on Minister Duclos to make Canada’s position publicly known for COP9, to push for public transparency during the meetings, and call for an inclusive evidence-based and scientific review of WHO policy in support of smoking harm reduction technologies such as vaping. Furthermore, we ask that Minister Duclos refers to the open letter from 100 world renowned healthcare professionals who oppose WHOs proposal on vaping.
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