DEMANDS that the World Health Organisation ends its opposition to e-cigarettes to save millions of lives a year have been backed by 100 specialist scientists around the globe.
The experts support a paper by leading British anti-tobacco campaigner Clive Bates, former director of anti-smoking campaign group ASH. He believes that as many as eight million people a year could be saved if they were encouraged to switch to safer vaping alternatives. Mr Bates has pointed to evidence that shows e-cigarettes are 95 per cent safer than traditional smoking alternatives, and greatly reduce the risk of cancer and other health problems.
He argues that smokers need to be persuaded to move on to them as a means of weaning them off the habit.
However, the WHO is running an aggressive campaign to get vaping and other forms of e-cigarettes banned.The UN body recently gave the Indian government an award for banning e-cigarettes even though tens of millions of people in that country still smoke more dangerous traditional alternatives.
The issue is set to be raised at an intergovernmental conference that will look at how to bring the number of tobacco-related deaths down. The ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (COP9) will be held online, led by the WHO, from November 8-13.