WHO says, sit down. WHO says, stop smoking. WHO says, vaping is bad. Vaping is good.
They haven’t actually said the last one and that’s because they seem to think that vapour products are made from tobacco. Idiots. “We don’t know what’s in them” they cry. “It’s just another addiction”. Oh my word.
Today is of course “World No Tobacco Day 2015” and there has been an awful lot of spiel emanating from the WHO twitter feed as you would expect when they consider tobacco to be the world’s most lethal pandemic. Uh huh. A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that has spread through human populations across a large-scale, maybe worldwide. Thing is, last time I checked tobacco is not infectious. Dependence building maybe, but not infectious. You can’t catch tobacco through the ‘normal’ disease vectors.
Chan observed that “raising taxes on tobacco is the most effective way to reduce use and save lives”
She commented that “determined action on tobacco tax policy hits the industry where it hurts”
So the illustrious leader of this delightful organisation firmly believes that raising taxes on tobacco is a great idea. It’ll hit the industry where it hurts. Uh…
Unless I’m very much mistaken, raising taxes and proposing bans on vapour products has actually had the opposite effect. Not a particularly good start is it?
The tobacco industry has alleged that tobacco control measures such as plain packaging of tobacco products will harm business and increase illicit trade.
Ah yes, tobacco control measures are ‘harming business and increasing illicit trade’. But haven’t we just seen the stock prices going up? Hmm, I think the game is afoot.
I guess they really cannot see the correlation between the WHO demanding increased taxes on tobacco sales and the overall increase in illicit trade then. Of course, being illicit there are no hard numbers that would allow the lumbering WHO to determine what to do next, so they have to guess.
See, the thing with illicit trade is, well it’s illicit. It’s underground, unseen. Until an agency like the UK HMRC manage to snag someone.
In that lovely shed is part of a stock of illegal tobacco, which according to HMRC costs the UK 2.1 billion per year in lost revenue. This particular group are said to have cost £3.8 million in excise duty. Are the WHO really that blind in considering the consequences of their demands?
I guess that they really are that blind. Yet, there is a really simple solution, and the European Commission have just published the exact information needed.
There are thousands of, and I’m going to use the WHO’s favourite term here, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) users across Europe, and judging by the information contained in the latest Special Eurobarometer report, those that are using them are actually quitting smoking.
Odd that isn’t it? A relatively benign device that the WHO despises because it isn’t under their control is pretty much solely responsible for a rapid decline in tobacco consumption. Not the ever-increasing taxes that the WHO loves to implement, nor the plain packaging that Australia thinks has been so successful (it hasn’t been by the way).
No other tobacco control initiative proposed and legislated by the WHO has been as successful in decreasing tobacco usage as smokeless tobacco (snus) or vapour products have been.
Of course, the WHO are adamant that they are protecting the health of non-smokers and that the laws they have demanded are popular.
Unfortunately, thanks to the mass of misinformation about vapour products and smokeless tobacco, a lot of the ‘proposals’ have a lot of support, but strangely enough increasing taxes on tobacco products proves to be the least popular according to the EC report. But of course, the WHO will completely disregard the carefully gathered information because their word is law. Natch.
Unashamedly the EC decided to try to put a negative spin on their results by summarising that promotion of vapour products is too widespread and insisting that %63 are in favour of including vapour products in the same laws that apply to smoking. Sadly, it is the overbearing, nannying non-smokers that are likely to have their way.
Every item has more ‘support’ from the non-smokers, with only the improvement of traceability having similar support from both sides. Despite the answer mentioning that it might make the products a few cents more expensive. Effectively a hidden “tax”, natch.
World No Tobacco Day 2015 underlines the need to defend such public health initiatives from legal attacks by TTCs under trade agreements, investor clauses and outlandish intellectual property claims. The Anti-Tobacco Trade Litigation Fund is a welcome safeguard for such public health measures.
So this litigation fund, no doubt funded by those that buy tobacco legally and probably a hefty chunk of change being provided by the pharmaceutical industry, is fuelling the ever present anti-smoker campaign proudly bandied about by the WHO and those demented bureaucrats in the EU. Bravo, slow clap for the Dementors.
Competing Interests: none declared