At five past seven this morning I interviewed on Radio Wales (here, 1 hour 10 minutes in).
The news we were discussing?
That 52 top scientists from all around the world who have written to the WHO in protest at their policy on electronic cigarettes.
One Billion Preventable Deaths
The WHO is forecasting one billion preventable deaths from tobacco this century.
But scientists from 15 different countries believe that electronic cigarettes can massively help reduce the number of deaths.
IF the WHO reconsiders its policy of classifying ecigarettes as tobacco, and starts seeing ecigarettes as part of the solution rather than the problem.
One of the scientists, Gerry Stimson, Emeritus Professor at the Imperial College in London, argued that:
“If the WHO gets its way and extinguishes e-cigarettes, it will not only have passed up what is clearly one of the biggest public health innovations of the last three decades that could potentially save millions of lives, but it will have abrogated its own responsibility under its own charter to empower consumers to take control of their own health, something which they are already doing themselves in their millions.”
Professor John Britton of the Royal College of Phsycians agreed, adding:
“E-cigarette use has been a consumer led revolution and grown as a bottom-up public health initiative that could save millions of lives,” said John Britton, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, UK. “It has moved at a speed that shows just how much smokers want and will choose nicotine products that don’t kill. I hope the WHO and all public health decision makers can recognise and harness the health opportunities that e-cigarettes can provide.”
Obviously, this also has huge implications for the government in Wales, which is doing its best to stamp out electronic cigarettes.
As we’ve noted before, similar legislation in Spain has lead to a 70% decrease in the sales of ecigarettes.
It is quite possible that historians will look back at this period in history, note the huge opportunity we had to save lives, and say that our politicians had blood on their hands.
Scientists Putting Their Own Career At Risk
What the media won’t cover is the risk these scientists are taking.
Pharmaceutical companies (which produce competing nicotine cessation aids) and other anti-ecigarette organisations control much of the funding for research. And when scientists speak out about the potential of electronic cigarettes, they risk losing out on future research opportunities.