In 2021, policy makers around the world will have the opportunity to save 200 million lives. To achieve this, all they have to do is embrace a proven, effective method of quitting smoking – vaping.
Smoking is still the leading cause of preventable disease, with seven million deaths worldwide. Governments are taxing cigarettes at record levels and yet there are still more than 1.1 billion smokers worldwide.
Combatting the high rates of smoking related illness and death is at the centre of health policy discussions worldwide, from the EU Beating Cancer Plan to the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, there is a unifying message: smoking kills.
In some countries, vaping has delivered an unprecedented rapid decline in smoking rates. In the UK, public health officials have stated that an extra 50,000 people quit in one year thanks to vaping.
Vaping has the potential to ensure 200 million smokers quit forever. For this to happen, leaders around the world need to encourage and embrace policies that support vaping to beat smoking.
The global ‘COP 9’ conference, taking place this November, will set the direction for anti-smoking policies and vaping policies worldwide. At EU level, there are calls for flavour bans and tax hikes as part of the wider review of the Tobacco Products Directive, which will act as the benchmark for vaping policies globally. Millions of vapers may be forced back to smoking if the result of these reviews leads to tax hikes, flavour bans, and other restrictions on vaping accessibility.
The impact of decisions made in 2021 will be felt for generations to come. That’s why global leaders must act now and seize this historic opportunity.
2021 can be the year the world embraces one of the greatest public health inventions of the century – vaping.
E-cigarettes, according to Public Health England, are 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes. The UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended that people should use e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking. We are advocating that this year, the WHO and the EU reconsider their stance on vaping, listen to the stories of vapers, follow the science and deliver a huge result for public health.
That is why we are launching our Back Vaping. Beat Smoking campaign this week. It is vital that the voices of vapers are heard and we will be mobilising vapers around the world to deliver a clear message – the best way to beat smoking is to back vaping as part of anti-smoking plans.
The next six months are critical for vapers and for the future of public health. We have a historic opportunity, and it is our duty to fight for it. We hope many consumers will join us and politicians will finally listen.
Michael Landl, Director of the World Vapers’ Alliance