Harsh criticism landing at the FCTC COP-9 conference by human rights activists

The WHO anti-smoking conference during the framework agreement for the control of tobacco signed by most countries of the world together with Greece having the USA and Indonesia as examples of non-signatory countries were criticized at their meeting in South Africa by representatives of the medical profession and the e-cigarette and human rights trade for draconian anti-smoking measures and the promotion of increasingly stringent legislation.

The meeting of the South African Association of Electronic Cigarette Products met a few days before the WHO conference, conducted online from Geneva, instead of Amsterdam, where it is based, blaming it for the impact of low- and middle-income countries on the prevalence of smoking combined with their economic dependence on trade and tobacco production which the WHO intended to control.

The president of the South African Medical Association, ophthalmologist Kgoshi Letlep, said that the WHO looks forward to seeing e-cigarette bans with the guarantee that they have not been adequately tested to determine their health suitability.

“If you look at the proposed smoking legislation, it tells you that we are accomplices. We accept as a dogma what comes from the WHO. It opens with a precautionary preamble, continuing to say that any tobacco product intended to replace smoking will be treated as a cigarette – without discrimination. Whether it causes smoke or a cloud, it will be treated like burning cigarettes. Essentially what is inferred from the protocol in relation to internal prohibitions and the restriction of advertising, etc. will find its application in innovative products replacing smoking. Such is the orientation of the legislation so that any information given about innovative products will need ministerial approval in accordance with the proposed law on smoking.” said the well-known ophthalmologist urging African countries to stop accepting orders from the WHO and to formulate their own independent health policy for which he stressed that the time has come.

In his presentation, the director of the British Association of Electronic Smoking Producers stressed that the WHO protocol never embraced the existence and presence of these electronic mediums, concluding that the FCTC ‘is not fit for purpose’. He further stated that electronic products do not fall into the category of tobacco products that the anti-smoking conference deals with, disputing the relevance of the FCTC on these.

“Their relentless opposition to e-cigarettes has become a threat to global health,” John Dunnie told the biannual anti-smoking conference. “COP meetings are stringently confidential from the public. Journalists and the public enter strictly as observers and are expelled from day one.” Dunnie praised his country’s progressive and thorough and successful approach to innovative electronic products worldwide in the fight against non-communicable disease, which is arguably the WHO’s largest state subsidiary after increasing the subsidy by 30% to 340 million a year.

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