WHO’s Warning on Vaping Receives Severe Criticisms From The Research Community

Recently, on 20 Jan 2020, WHO – World Health Organization released a post in its official website titled “E-cigarettes: how risky are they?” In this post WHO issued warnings regarding the dangers of vaping. These warnings have not been well received by the vaping community. The vaping research community has lashed back saying that WHO is spreading unfounded information regarding vaping and e-cigarettes. 

An organization of its stature, WHO did not have to make such claims regarding e-cigarettes. The views expressed by WHO are largely based on the uncertain risks of vaping which are yet to be established. 

The Controversies Revolve Around The Following Factors

Recent lung disease-related allegations that are associated with e-cigarettes containing THC has been holding the center stage of discussions. This case is still being investigated to establish whether THC is the only cause of the lung disease or there are other causes that resulted in lung disease in those who suffered the condition. In this situation, WHO states, 

There is growing evidence to show that ENDS (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems) use could cause lung damage.”

On the other hand, the UK public health officials have been making statements that are in favor of vaping and their benefits. These statements consider vaping as a safer alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes. 

Clearly WHO is taking after the views of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that totally disregard the advantages of using e-cigarettes. WHO points to the ‘ban’ status of e-cigarettes in some countries across the globe. However, what is rather amusing is that the very same countries have not banned tobacco cigarettes or smoking. It simply beats the whole rationale behind the ban. 

Let Us Get Some Facts Straight

One of the strongest points posed by WHO and others who oppose e-cigarettes is that it is harmful and in particular to young people who are largely taking on to vaping. The entire argument misses the whole point that e-cigarettes are just an alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes. The e-cigarettes do not do anything the regular cigarettes do. In fact, research and testing prove that the smoker takes in lesser harmful chemicals when using e-cigarettes as opposed to the regular cigarettes. 

The issue here is that the argument misses the whole point of reference – who is using the e-cigarettes or vaporizers is important. We need to categorize these users first before we could make any statements regarding the harmfulness of e-cigarettes. Let us categorize them:

  1. People who are already smoking and who are making quitting attempts 
  2. People who are already smoking but have no intention of quitting
  3. People who are not smoking currently but taking on to e-cigarettes

Let us assume that the e-cigarettes are banned, where does that leave us? The first and the second category of people will not have the less harmful alternative any longer. The idea scenario is that they do not smoke but they are already deep into the quagmire. When someone is making attempts towards quitting smoking, their lungs will actually be less taxed with the use of e-cigarettes which does not have those hundreds of chemicals that are found in the regular cigarettes and that are unnecessary to give the nicotine fix the smoker needs. 

E-cigarettes buy the person who is going through the rehabilitation process by causing less damage. If one understands how any substance addiction rehabilitation process works, they will immediately be able to appreciate the benefits of switching to e-cigarettes during the recovery process. WHO may be right in stating that e-cigarettes are by no means a smoking cessation tool, but at the same time, the benefits of switching to e-cigarettes during the recovery phase cannot be overlooked. No rehabilitation process asks or even recommends smokers to quit instantly. The entire process is to help the person gradually reduce the number of cigarettes that one smokes and eventually quit. 

Let us move the second category of people who are already smoking but have no intention of quitting. The above argument holds good for this category of people too. Banning e-cigarettes will not reduce the risks, instead, it will only increase the risks for the smoking community. If there has to be any ban at all to avert the risks, then the ban has to be on the entire gamut of smoking and tobacco cigarettes. No country has done that and singling out just the vaporizers and e-cigarettes sends a wrong message to the world. 

Any move towards pressurizing the governments to ban e-cigarettes will show dirty play by the tobacco cigarette companies that are losing their business to new vaping companies. 

Moving to the third category of people, the ideal situation would be that they do not take on to smoking. There is no doubt the smoking of all forms is harmful to health as they cause damage to the lungs. If a person is not smoking at all, then it is best that they never explore this avenue. Let us assume that even a small percentage of this category of people want to venture into smoking, which would be the better option for them – starting with tobacco cigarettes and getting used to it or starting with e-cigarettes and keeping the health damages and risks low. 

We are not claiming that e-cigarettes or vaping are totally harmless. No one can make such a claim, but the whole controversy is around the denial state maintained by the people from the other quarters that e-cigarettes are less harmful. They not only stop by denying the benefits but they also go one step further to take these benefits away from the vaping community by advocating the e-cigarette ban. 

To conclude, it is no rocket science people can easily follow these arguments and take their own stand. Today it is a lot easier to gain access to any information one needs regarding e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes in a matter of few clicks. You can, therefore, find it out for yourself, the veracity of all the claims, both for and against e-cigarettes and make up your mind.