10 November 2023

The EU and the WHO’s sinister collusion against vaping

By Martin Cullip

The European Commission’s manoeuvre to exploit the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP) 10 meeting on Tobacco Control for the promotion of anti-vaping measures is nothing short of disgraceful. Leaked documents have laid bare the disturbing collusion between European Commission and European Council bureaucrats to exploit the minimal scrutiny and accountability of COP10 in order to push for draconian legislation on vaping. By pushing for extreme positions favoured by the WHO, the Commission aims to evade democratic scrutiny, bypass the European Parliament, and implement regulations that could have far-reaching implications for public health and personal freedom, and even influence other nations like the UK to follow suit.

The Commission’s actions are just the latest example of the pernicious effect of the WHO’s ongoing campaign against vaping. The Commission has been heavily criticised for its unsubstantiated claims of a ‘gateway effect’ – the idea that vaping could lead young people into smoking. In reality, the evidence is clear that vaping has actually contributed to a decline in smoking among the youth. The WHO’s refusal to acknowledge these facts appears to reflect the organisation’s intellectual rigidity and a disregard for empirical data.

Even more troubling is the WHO’s relentless endeavour to impose its extreme views on national governments. Its zeal to strong-arm countries into adopting strict vaping regulations amounts to a clear violation of national sovereignty. It is the right of every government to determine policies that best suit its unique circumstances and the needs of its people, free from undue external pressure. Sadly, this time, it looks like the WHO is using the European Commission to do its bidding.

The efforts of the WHO to discredit the vaping industry and perpetuate a narrative that equates e-cigarettes and other smoke-free nicotine products, such as heated tobacco, to the dangers of traditional cigarettes have also cast a significant shadow over the UK. The UK has long been a global pioneer in vaping policy, achieving considerable success in reducing smoking rates across all age groups. However, recent times signal a potential shift in government approach, driven by a media narrative highlighting the risks of youth vaping. Proposals to ban disposable vapes have been under consideration for some time, and the current government consultation on addressing youth vaping is likely to resurrect such ideas.

The covert collaboration between European Union bureaucrats and the WHO to advance their narratives should raise alarms among all who value democratic principles and personal freedoms. Their influence over nations like the UK must be reined in, and a balanced approach to vaping policy should be championed.

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Martin Cullip is an International Fellow of the Taxpayer Protection Alliance, and former chair of the UK educational charity The New Nicotine Alliance.

Columns are the author's own opinion and do not necessarily reflect the views of CapX