Monday, 10 October 2016

Introducing the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations

I'm pleased to report the launch of a new e-cigarette consumer group, the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations. They've published a press release today...

Among INNCO’s priorities is to demand an end to the prohibition, disproportionate regulation, and punitive taxation of safer nicotine products like e-cigarettes and snus. The network seeks a dialogue with the World Health Organisation (WHO) over its opposition to e-cigarettes and other safer ways to use nicotine – an issue which INNCO believes is fuelling a rising tide of resentment towards the UN health agency.

INNCO is concerned that the WHO has shown a generally negative response to e-cigarettes since their introduction. Despite the increasing wealth of scientific evidence which supports their unique potential for harm reduction, the WHO tends to ignore the positives and selectively focus on unsubstantiated fears.

The WHO seventh Conference of the Parties (CoP7) to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), will take place in Delhi, India next month and INNCO believes it is likely that the organisation will seek to entrench their prohibitionist stance yet further. The CoP7 agenda contains several proposals which, if enacted, would make it even harder for current users or smokers wishing to switch to access e-cigarettes, or use them in public places.

INNCO finds the WHO's refusal to engage with the most important stakeholders concerning. It is consumers who actually use reduced-risk nicotine products, and therefore ignoring them throughout the decision-making process contradicts the UN and WHO advice to engage with affected communities.

At previous meetings, the press was dismissed from the proceedings after the opening statements were completed. INNCO worries the WHO has normalized secrecy, with the conference amounting to little more than a biennial lesson on how to avoid transparency.

This is very true. The WHO is one of the biggest obstacles to an evidence-based (let alone liberty-based) approach to nicotine consumption anywhere in the world. Their conference in Delhi will be a secretive farce, as usual. They have shown no signs of interacting with anybody outside of their prohibitionist clique. 

On 2nd October, INNCO wrote to Margaret Chan, Chairman of The World Health Organisation, enclosing its response to the WHO FCTC CoP7 report ‘Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems and Electronic Non-Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS/ENNDS)’ and formally requested a meeting to discuss our concerns over increasing disproportionate global regulation. INNCO has yet to receive a response. 

They'll be waiting a very long time, but I wish them luck.

Read the whole press release here.

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