By; AMOS TAUNA, Kaduna
The World Health Organisation (WHO), has urged member nations of its global tobacco treaty to ban or regulate the use of e-cigarettes and other novel and emerging products of the tobacco industry, in the interest of public health.
The call was made on Tuesday during a virtual media briefing by the Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals on the global tobacco treaty.
The National Institutes of Health noted that e-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that people use to heat liquid into a vapour that can be inhaled, saying that the WHO’s global tobacco treaty is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms all people’s right to the highest standard of health.
Organised ahead of the 10th Conference of Parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in Panama, the Treaty Officer, Legal Affairs, at WHO FCTC, Sabina Jacazzi, explained that the tobacco industry’s novel and emerging products fall under the category of tobacco products.
She said that the COP has adopted decisions on novel and emerging tobacco products, including heated tobacco products, and Electronic Nicotine and Non-nicotine delivery systems, saying that it has clarified that HTPs are tobacco products and are subject to the WHO FCTC.
As for ENDS/ENNDS, the COP clarified that parties that have not banned these should regulate them with the objective to prevent their initiation by youth and vulnerable groups, minimise potential health risks to users and those who are exposed to these products, prevent unproven health claims from being made about these products and protect tobacco control activities from commercial interests of the industry.
“In relation to the latest scientific evidence and policy recommendations on these products, I very much encourage checking the reports (by WHO and the Convention Secretariat) that will be considered at COP10, available online,” she explained.
The event also featured experts from around the world, including Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa.
In his speech, Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, said that the latest data showed a global decline in smoking but revealed that the tobacco industry was adopting new tactics to deceive government officials and ensnare the public.
He said that they are having a trend now where the industry is trying to position itself as part of the solution and not the problem and also similar to what they had at the climate conference (2023 UN Climate Change Conference – COP 28) where the fossil fuel industry promoted net zero and some other false solutions.