Hello INNCO

Today marks the launch of a new, worldwide umbrella consumer organisation for nicotine product users. Predominantly this will have a focus on e-cigarettes, but will encompass other reduced risk products.

Formed in June 2016, INNCO is the collective voice for the most influential nicotine consumer organisations in eleven countries around the world: organisations who each recognise that there are safer ways to enjoy nicotine consumption than tobacco smoking.

You may remember of course that there had been a consumer advocates meeting at the Global Forum on Nicotine and a lot of ideas were discussed, and a plan of action formed – along with the delegation of various responsibilities. Much of which couldn’t really be talked about outside of the meeting (I’m sure you can appreciate that).

Thanks to a lot of work behind the scenes, resting on the shoulders of a hardy few – step forward and be recognised Judy Gibson, Atakan Befrits, Amelia Howard, John Summers, Robert Innes, Carmen Escrig, Jim McDonald, Brian Carter, Jacques Le Houzec, Nancy Sutthoff and Fergus Mason, to name but a few, not only have INCCO officially launched themselves onto the world stage, they’ve also responded to the WHO about COP7.

Among INNCO’s priorities is to demand an end to the prohibition, disproportionate regulation, and punitive taxation of safer nicotine products like e-cigarettes and snus. The network seeks a dialogue with the World Health Organisation (WHO) over its opposition to e-cigarettes and other safer ways to use nicotine – an issue which INNCO believes is fuelling a rising tide of resentment towards the UN health agency.

INNCO is concerned that the WHO has shown a generally negative response to e-cigarettes since their introduction. Despite the increasing wealth of scientific evidence which supports their unique potential for harm reduction, the WHO tends to ignore the positives and selectively focus on unsubstantiated fears.

The WHO seventh Conference of the Parties (CoP7) to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), will take place in Delhi, India next month and INNCO believes it is likely that the organisation will seek to entrench their prohibitionist stance yet further. The CoP7 agenda contains several proposals which, if enacted, would make it even harder for current users or smokers wishing to switch to access e-cigarettes, or use them in public places.

Well quite. The WHO is one of, if not the biggest obstacle to evidence based approach to nicotine consumption. As with the debacle in Moscow, the shindig in Dehli will be a secretive, non-transparent farce.

At previous meetings, the press was dismissed from the proceedings after the opening statements were completed. INNCO worries the WHO has normalized secrecy, with the conference amounting to little more than a biennial lesson on how to avoid transparency.

As usual, neither the WHO or its tobacco control arm the FCTC have shown any signs of interacting or engaging with those outside of their prohibitionist echo chamber.

On 2nd October, INNCO wrote to Margaret Chan, Chairman of The World Health Organisation, enclosing its response to the WHO FCTC CoP7 report ‘Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems and Electronic Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS/ENNDS)’ and formally requested a meeting to discuss our concerns over increasing disproportionate global regulation. INNCO has yet to receive a response.

Sadly I suspect that INCCO will be waiting a long time for a response, but I wish them luck.

Do read the entire press release here.

  • Roberto S

    This is a very positive and welcome development. I am motivated to contact INCCO and offer participation in grass root activities in Mexico (where I live). The only critique to their statements is on the issue of marking all “combustible” tobacco as equally hazardous to health. This is not true: there is plenty of epidemiological evidence showing that prime cigar, pipe and hooka smoking, in moderation and without inhalation the smoke, is considerably less damaging than cigarette smoking. In fact hooka smoking is not even combustible. The economics (manufacturers, markets, consumer niches) of prime cigars, pipes and hookas is also very different from cigarette economics. The latter is dominated by a handful of large tobacco transnationals supplying hundreds of millions of consumers, while manufacturers of cigars and pipe tobacco are small companies, including a lot of artisan “pop and mom” brands, catering for a minority niches of consumers. I strongly believe that INCCO should also provide a voice and a platform for this sector of nicotine consumers.

    • It is indeed a very welcome development. Do feel free to drop them a note over at their website – http://innco.org – I’m sure they’ll welcome another voice 🙂

  • jmshigham

    It’s becoming highly organized.