Too many vapers, not enough smokers for the WHO

CAPHRA is calling on governments to adopt evidence-based, common-sense regulations for all vaping products.

Millions of vapers across Asia will be forced to return to smoking if the World Health Organization (WHO) has its way on e-cigarettes and other smokeless products, according to the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA).

new report published by WHO’s tobacco regulatory committee recommends nearly all vapes be banned, especially so-called ‘open’ systems. Not regulated – but banned.  It also demands the same restrictions on cigarettes be applied to other emerging products, presumably so smokers can never know about them.

In the open system, which is the preferred way of vaping for many people across Asia, the consumer manually refills the liquid to be vaporized.  According to the WHO, this system allows for the addition of substances that could make the product more harmful.

“The latest recommendation from WHO defies all logic,” said Nancy Loucas, the Executive Coordinator of CAPHRA.  “If countries adopt the recommendation to ban open-system vapes, years of hard work by ex-smokers as well as good public policy will be rendered meaningless.”

“Let there be no doubt: vapers will then go back to cigarettes, which is the worst possible outcome.”  

“Banning any product is not the answer, nor is applying blanket cigarette rules to all emerging products. Bans encourage the black market. Bans do not allow for proper consumer protection,” Loucas said.

CAPHRA is calling on governments to adopt evidence-based, common-sense regulations for all vaping products.

“Just last week, the UK’s leading health agency, Public Health England (PHE), concluded that nicotine vaping products were the most popular aid used by smokers trying to quit,” Loucas said.

“On the one hand, you have a local public health agency looking into the evidence and ways in which smokers can be encouraged to quit smoking and vape, and on the other you have a global agency stuck in their old ways of believing prohibition is the answer to everything.”

CAPHRA said the latest recommendation is part of the continued demonization of vaping by the WHO, and its blatant refusal to accept independent science.

“Just who is the WHO protecting with this proposed ban? Is it the millions of vapers who have quit smoking thanks to e-cigarettes, or the deadly cigarette trade? Or worse yet, the criminal black market?” Loucas asked.

“WHO’s attitude to e-cigarettes has been devastating for millions and millions of smokers and vapers alike all around the world,” Loucas said. 

CAPHRA said it’s only through regulating products can vapers remain protected, encouraged to stop smoking, and as a result, achieve good public health outcomes.


The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Advocates (CAPHRA) is a regional alliance of consumer tobacco harm reduction advocacy organizations. Its mission is to educate, advocate and represent the right of adult alternative nicotine consumers to access and use of products that reduce harm from tobacco use.

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