Vaping groups hit ‘erroneous’ WHO Q&A on e-cigs
MANILA, Philippines — Local vaping groups have cri¬ticized the World Health Organization (WHO) for publishing “an atrociously erroneous” question and answer (Q&A) page on electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes, or vapes).
“The Q&A has nine questions and every answer the WHO provides is filled with false, misleading or simplistic information,” said Peter Paul Dator, president of The Vapers Philippines.
“Stubbornly clinging to their myopic belief that the only way to reduce smoking is for smokers to ‘quit or die,’ the WHO conveniently ignores the science supporting e-cigarettes as a less harmful alternative to conventional cigarettes and shamelessly stoops to the level of falsity, propaganda and fear mongering,” he said.
“We have always questioned the WHO’s competence in tobacco control, particularly in recognizing tobacco harm reduction as a public health strategy and the potential for new technologies, such as e-cigarettes, to reduce smo¬king-related harms. By publishing this disgraceful Q&A on e-cigarettes, the WHO violated every precept of responsible science communication and sound policymaking,” said Joey Dulay, president of the Philippine E-cigarette Industry Association.
Dator and Dulay scored the WHO’s “reckless and irresponsible” decision to publish the error-ridden Q&A.
Initially published on the WHO website on Jan. 20, 2020, and distributed by email to journalists in several countries, the Q&A triggered a barrage of harsh criticisms from vaping advocates who accused the global health organization of misrepresenting the science about vaping risks by exaggerating claims of e-cigarette harmfulness.
Faced with mounting criticism, the WHO revised the Q&A on Jan. 29, somewhat backpedaling on its claims against e-cigarettes. The WHO did not email the updated Q&A to journalists.
In his online blog “World Health Organization fails at science and fails at propaganda — the sad case of WHO’s anti-vaping Q&A,” Clive Bates debunked the claims against e-cigarettes in the original Q&A published by the WHO.
Bates is a former chief of the UK charity Action on Smoking and Health and an advocate of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool.
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