World Health Organization
Information Note: 08/2013; Subject: WHO Smoke-free Compounds;
Distribution: All Staff including at UNAIDS ; Date: 08 April 2013
Effective May 31st 2013, smoking and the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems, such as e-cigarettes, will no longer be permitted at any time in:
a. All indoor and outdoor areas of the WHO compound, including parking areas, gardens;
b. All vehicles owned, rented by, or leased to WHO; and
c. All private and commercial vehicles while they are on WHO compound.
The above applies to all persons while on the WHO premises regardless of the purpose for their visit.
Health Medical Services (HMS) in collaboration with CIPRET a local nongovernmental Organization will continue to provide support for tobacco cessation to any WHO employee who requests it.
Clear signage will be posted in English and French at entrances to the buildings and premises and all ashtrays will be removed from the premises.
Notwithstanding the responsibility of the Organization to protect and promote health and safety at work, staff are responsible for knowing and adhering to the provisions of this information note. It is expected that all staff members will contribute to a smoke-free compound by informing any violator that the WHO compound is smoke free.
The WHO has had a policy of not employing tobacco-users for some years, so the smoking ban will only affect visitors. But there is, of course, not a shred of a scintilla of a smidgeon of scientific evidence to justify a ban on the use of e-cigarettes indoors, let alone outdoors. What is the problem here? Is it nicotine use per se? If so, why aren't pharmaceutical nicotine products included in this ban? Could it be because the companies that make them all give generously to the WHO?
Let's remember what the WHO's then Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland said when she welcomed the pharmaceutical industry on board as funders in 1999:
“Three major pharmaceutical companies have joined this partnership: Glaxo Wellcome, Novartis, and Pharmacia & Upjohn. They all manufacture treatment products against tobacco dependence. Together, these companies will support a common goal that will have a significant impact on public health... And I am happy to welcome other stakeholders—and that includes industry—to join us, because investing in health yields high returns.”
The WHO seems intent on not allowing those "high returns" to be put at risk. Shame on them.
(PS. Meanwhile, Pfizer has issued a press release claiming that smoking can reduce the value of your home "by nearly 30 per cent". Getting a bit desperate, lads?)