Last Updated on November 14, 2019 by

Will WHO Suppress Electronic Cigarette Findings?

In what could be a game changer for the worldwide electronic cigarette industry, 53 prominent health researchers have written to the World Health Organisation (WHO) asking the organisation to “resist the urge to control and suppress e-cigarettes“. This is the first time that we have seen a significant group from the research/medical industry coming together to urge more appreciation of electronic cigarettes when compared to their tobacco cigarette counterparts.Researchers ask WHO not to suppress electronic cigarette industry

While one individual prompting change can often be ignored, or drowned out by those against any move, there is no doubt that 53 researchers signing off the same letter will have more persuasion and more power. One of the leading figures to contribute to the World Health Organisation communication was Prof Robert West who is the director of tobacco studies at UCL. Interestingly he was quoted as suggesting e-cigarettes “could be the most significant health innovations of the 21st century – perhaps saving hundreds of millions of lives”. What can you say to that?

Will the WHO listen?

In many ways the WHO is stuck in the middle of a very difficult argument with all parties, for and against electronic cigarettes, bombarding them with comments, statistics and their own opinions. However, it is not very often we see medical researchers acting en masse and there is no doubt the WHO will listen to this latest communication. Let’s not forget this letter contains the views and opinions of many leading medical researchers including some who had been involved in the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK.

Researchers ask WHO not to suppress electronic cigarette industryThe recent approach to electronic cigarettes from the WHO has been to consider regulating them in the same manner as tobacco products. There is now a growing opinion that treating electronic cigarettes in a similar regulatory fashion to tobacco cigarettes could actually prolong the use of tobacco cigarettes and the various health side-effects. Many believe that electronic cigarettes are “orders of magnitude safer” than tobacco cigarettes and while more long-term research is required, initial findings have been encouraging.

Will we ever reach a consensus opinion on electronic cigarettes?

The fact that we live in a democratic world where everybody is entitled to their own opinion will ultimately mean that we will never reach a situation where everybody appreciates the potential benefits of electronic cigarettes over their tobacco cigarette counterparts. This may be for a number of reasons such as funding requirements, the personal opinion of individuals and in some cases a possible conflict of interest. We must also remember that it is healthy to have parties for and against specific products and specific services because this ensures focus and ongoing evaluation.Researchers ask WHO not to suppress electronic cigarette industry

This ongoing evaluation needs to be balanced and unbiased although the campaign by those against electronic cigarettes continues to insinuate that children are the prime target of electronic cigarette companies. Indeed one such campaigner against electronic cigarettes, John Ashton, of the U.K.’s Faculty of Public Health was quoted as saying “we need to weigh up the benefits of fewer people smoking against the risk of electronic cigarettes leading to more people starting to smoke, particularly children”. This comment is somewhat bizarre especially when you bear in mind that more and more research is showing minimal non-smokers starting with electronic cigarettes and indeed there is no evidence of electronic cigarettes becoming a gateway to their tobacco cigarette counterpart.


The simple fact is that some people will never accept electronic cigarettes have any part to play in the ongoing fight against tobacco addiction. The World Health Organisation is in many ways stuck in the middle and thankfully historically they have shown a level headed approach to a variety of different health issues. It will be interesting to see whether the communication from 53 researchers will lead to a softening of the organisation’s stance on electronic cigarettes or whether indeed it will be ignored. We wait with bated breath to see what path the WHO decides to take in the future………….

Mark Benson

Mark Benson is a contributing author for Spinfuel eMagazine. His continuing columns will bring a levelheaded approach to the dynamics involved in realizing a positive future for the e-cigarette industry. For more information on OK Eliquids and other products available please visit the OKCigs website.