Since 1988, the WHO (World Health Organisation) has instituted a World No Tobacco Day with the aim of drawing attention to the dangers of tobacco on the health of the world's population.
This may seem relevant considering that there are 1.3 billion smokers on the planet and 8 million tobacco-related deaths every year.
This year, the topic picked by the WHO for this special day is "Grow food, not Tobacco" to highlight the need to convert arable land in the poorest countries to subsistence farming rather than to tobacco growing.
WHO'S INVOLVEMENT IN UNDERMINING VAPE
A noble cause indeed !
From a common sense point of view, one could consider that the most efficient method to achieve the end of smoking would be to eliminate the demand for tobacco, by pushing consumers towards alternative solutions, which would result in forcing tobacco producers to turn to other crops.
Simple as that !
Yes, but there is, from theory to application, a world of antagonistic nuances dictated by interests that are not very charitable.
Why has the WHO decided to deny, against all logic, the scientific evidence that confirms, day after day, that the electronic cigarette remains the most effective tool to quit smoking and to persist in developing an anti-vape policy bordering on fanaticism ?
The latest example is the WHO's COP 10 (Conference of the Parties) to be held in Panama in November 2023 to develop its future tobacco control strategies. The main measures that will be submitted to the "Wise Men" will be the taxation of vaping, the banning of open systems, nicotine salts, non-tobacco flavourings, the possibility to set the e-cig's power, but also an overhaul of the concept of smoke. All of this with the stated aim to discourage smokers from switching to vaping.
Why ? The answer may be found in the way the international organisation is funded.
At its core, the WHO is supposed to be an independent organisation, but you don't have to look far to find out who the charitable donors are.
Money is the lifeblood of the organisation, and the WHO needs a lot of donations to run its essential human health campaigns such as vaccination in poor countries.
Has she sold her soul to the devil for a good cause ?
In this digital age where all information is available or leaked, let's look at the WHO's funding list and its generous big-hearted donors...
Bloomberg Philanthropies, the foundation of the American multi-millionaire who has made the fight against rabies its focus, is in a very good position. But also, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which works in conjunction with Bloomberg. Between them, these two foundations provide almost half of the WHO's funds. Quite an astonishing figure !
Add in Big Pharmas like GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) for whom a tobacco victim will always be more profitable than a vaper, and you start to get a clearer picture of the WHO's anti-smoking policy.
AN ALTERNATIVE EXAMPLE : THE UNITED KINGDOM
Is there no solution to this predicted disaster ?
No, one country is still resisting the WHO's diktat with spectacular results in reducing tobacco consumption and the associated health risks : the United Kingdom.
This country has taken the problem of smoking head-on with its weapon...vaping.
The latest initiative was the creation of a "Swap to Stop" programme by the UK Health Department, which provided 1 million free vape kits to help willing smokers quit.
Since the start of the country's pro-vaping policy, the number of smokers has dropped from 20% to 13%.
What country that has introduced restrictive measures against vaping can boast of such a result ? The answer is simple : none.
The UK had the courage to go even further and dare to do what no government had dared before : to officially criticise the position of the non-governmental organisation and its crazy positions against vaping (report published by the UK Parliament's cross-party group for vaping), and to question its freedom of action in the face of the demands of its generous donors.
Will common sense ever cross the Channel ? Will public health interests take precedence over economic interests ? Will other countries realise the need to support smokers in a practical and sincere way by helping them quit smoking through vaping, while at the same time preventing teenagers from having access to it ?
Let's trust healthcare workers, field players as well as vapers, ambassadors of their successful experience, to make things happen.
If you ever go on the WHO website with the intention of finding a solution to quit smoking, you'll be directed to the "Quitting Toolkit" page. Good start, you might think : they have solutions.
The WHO gives you tips on how to quit smoking, 4 in fact :
- Delay your need to light up a cigarette as long as possible.
- Take 10 deep breaths to relax and get rid of the urge.
- Drink water to get something in your mouth.
- Do something to distract your mind from the cigarette like taking a shower or listening to music.
We are not about to witness the end of smoking
Thank you for reading.
The Sweetch team