E-cigarettes Are a ‘Trap’ to Recruit Children Not Harm Reduction – Tedros
There is growing evidence that using e-cigarettes doubles the chance of starting to smoke cigarettes later in life for never-smoker adolescents.

Electronic cigarettes are a trap to recruit children, not part of harm reduction, said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) at the global body’s weekly media conference.

“When the tobacco industry introduced electronic cigarettes and vaping, one narrative they really tried to sell is that this is part of harm reduction. It’s not true. It actually is a trap, meaning kids are being recruited at the early age of 10,11,12 to do vaping and e-cigarettes,” said Tedros in one of the sharpest rebukes of the industry yet.

Children are attracted to e-cigarettes and vaping because think that it’s cool, and it comes in different colours and flavours, he added.

“Then they get hooked for life and most actually move into regular cigarette smoking,” said Tedros, who also stressed that e-cigarette and vaping were also harmful to health in themselves.

He appealed to WHO member states to regulate e-cigarettes and vaping to protect their citizens.

Earlier in the week, the WHO marked World No Tobacco Day by appealing to member states to assist local tobacco farmers in  to move to food crops by ending tobacco-growing subsidies.

Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration issued warning letters to 30 retailers, for illegally selling unauthorized tobacco products. 

“The unauthorized products were various types of Puff and Hyde brand disposable e-cigarettes, which were two of the most commonly reported brands used by youth e-cigarette users in 2022,” according to the FDA.

“Protecting our nation’s youth from tobacco products – including disposable e-cigarettes – is a top priority for the FDA,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf, M.D. “We’re committed to holding all players in the supply chain – not just manufacturers but also retailers and distributors – accountable to the law.”

Bogus claims about pandemic treaty

Tedros also hailed the long list of resolutions adopted over the past 10 days by the World Health Assembly, the highest decision-making body of the WHO.

He described the decision to increase member states’ fees – assessed contributions – to cover 20% of the WHO’s budget and support for an investment drive as  “landmark agreements in our shared efforts towards a stronger, more effective and empowered WHO”.

However, he once again appealed for an end to disinformation that the pandemic accord and changes to the International Health Regulations currently being negotiated would threaten nations’ sovereignty.

Right-wing Swiss members of Freiheitstrychler protest against the WHO in Geneva

“This accord is a generational opportunity that we must seize. We are the generation that lived through the COVID-19 pandemic so we must be the generation that learns the lessons and makes the changes to keep future generations safer,” stressed Tedros.

“The two processes are being negotiated by member states for member states and will, if enacted, be implemented in member states in accordance with their own national laws,” said Tedros. 

“All member states will retain their own sovereignty to set their own domestic health policies. The idea that tthis accord or the amended international health regulations will cede sovereignty to WHO is simply bogus.”

Last Saturday, members of the right-wing Frieheitstrychler (“freedom bell-ringers”) held a protest outside the United Nations in Geneva in protest against the WHO and the pandemic treaty. Ringing cowbells, some of the protestors carried posters condemning the pandemic treaty and claiming that the WHO was trying to take power from member states.

Image Credits: WHO, Megha Kaveri.

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