|Via Jo Lincoln|
From the Financial Times...
Electronic cigarette users are set to be banished to the pavement alongside their tobacco-smoking cousins – and face similar hefty prices – if the World Health Organisation pushes ahead with plans to regulate e-cigarettes in the same way as normal tobacco.
Leaked documents seen by the Financial Times revealed that parts of the WHO are keen to classify the battery-powered devices as tobacco under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a WHO treaty that obliges governments to curtail smoking rates across the globe.
The forces ranged against e-cigarette users are endless and become less accountable at every turn. We have already been faced by the MHRA, the Department of Health and the European Commission. Now comes the World Health Organisation, an unelected body with strong financial links to the pharmaceutical industry which holds its meetings on tobacco in notorious secrecy.
Why, you may ask, has the Department of Health been conniving to have e-cigarettes regulated as medical products while the WHO is conniving to regulate them as tobacco products? Aren't medicines at the opposite end of the spectrum to tobacco products?
Of course they are. It makes no sense at all until you consider that the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control can only be applied to tobacco whereas the MHRA only regulates medicines. Necessity is the mother of invention, hence the eager rush to pretend that e-cigarettes are something they not.
The WHO's excuse for classifying e-cigs as tobacco products is that the nicotine in them comes from tobacco. But the nicotine in patches and gum also comes from tobacco. And whilst it is possible to artificially synthesise nicotine without using tobacco, it is much more expensive and the resulting fluid would be exactly the same. It is a risible justification.
The fact remains that e-cigarettes are neither tobacco products nor medicines. They are consumer products and should be regulated as such. They have nothing to do with the MHRA or the WHO. They have nothing to do with the corrupt 'tobacco control' lobby that has objected to them from the start because never featured in the prohibitionist blueprint.
Quite how the British government is going to square e-cigarettes being both medicines and tobacco products is a question for another day. On the plus side, very few of the signatories of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control have implemented all of the WHO's recommendations. It can be ignored with apparent impunity. On the down side, the UK is one of those countries.
As difficult as it was for vapers to make the EU see some sense on this issue, the hardest task is yet to come. The WHO is completely outside the democratic process and answers only to itself. There is a long road ahead.
For further reading head to City AM and Dick Puddlecote.