• June 21, 2024

Alarm About Proposed Open System Ban

 Alarm About Proposed Open System Ban
Photo: Olgacanals | Dreamstime

Millions of vapers could feel forced to return to smoking if national governments adopt a proposal from the World Health Organization (WHO) on e-cigarettes, warns the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA)

A new report published by the WHO’s tobacco regulatory committee recommends nearly all vapes—especially “open systems”—be banned. It also demands existing restrictions on cigarettes be applied to emerging products, presumably so smokers won’t learn about them.

In the open system, which is the preferred way of vaping for many people across Asia, the consumer manually refills the liquid to be vaporized. According to the WHO, this system allows for the addition of substances that could make the product more harmful.

“The latest recommendation from WHO defies all logic,” said Nancy Loucas, the executive coordinator of CAPHRA, in a statement. “If countries adopt the recommendation to ban open system vapes, years of hard work by ex-smokers as well as good public policy will be rendered meaningless.”

“Let there be no doubt: Vapers will then go back to cigarettes, which is the worst possible outcome.” 

“Banning any product is not the answer nor is applying blanket cigarette rules to all emerging products. Bans encourage the black market. Bans do not allow for proper consumer protection,” Loucas said.

CAPHRA is calling on governments to adopt evidence-based, common sense regulations for all vaping products.

“Just last week, the U.K.’s leading health agency, Public Health England (PHE), concluded that nicotine vaping products were the most popular aid used by smokers trying to quit,” Loucas said.

“On the one hand, you have a local public health agency looking into the evidence and ways in which smokers can be encouraged to quit smoking and vape, and on the other, you have a global agency stuck in their old ways of believing prohibition is the answer to everything.”

“WHO’s attitude to e-cigarettes has been devastating for millions and millions of smokers and vapers alike all around the world,” Loucas said.

CAPHRA said it’s only through regulating products that vapers can remain protected, encouraged to stop smoking and, as a result, achieve good public health outcomes.