It seems the current craze from the World Health Organisation and national governments across the globe is to manage all persons to ensure they live the perfect, healthy life.
Have you not heard? Individual people are now too stupid to realise what is wrong with them or how to live better lives. They need the government to show them how. Do this, and you will be happy. Do that, and you will not be such a burden on our health service. The latest target of this nanny-state rampage are e-cigarettes, known colloquially as ‘Vapes’ or ‘Tonk’.
In its ever-extending arm of influence, the WHO, having determined that e-cigarettes are ‘harmful to health’, has decided the best life is a smoke- and vape-free one.
Helpful and ground-breaking stuff.
Furthermore, the WHO has determined vaping is destructive to young people — that it teases them into the clutches of addiction with exotic flavours and aesthetic mists. This may have been convincing if they could prove that adolescent vaping is now higher than adolescent smoking has ever been or that more young people now are addicted to nicotine than ever before.
That’s not the case.
In fact, the British Medical Journal reported that smoking rates of 17-18 year olds were decreasing, yet not at a rate to match the increase of vaping uptakes. While studies showing the harmful effects of vaping seem to be everywhere nowadays, there is really no solid data to suggest that teens are more addicted to nicotine than they always have been. Teenagers are reckless. Those who were most likely going to smoke anyway would just take up vaping instead. Surely the WHO should see this as a good thing, as vapes do not contain cancer-causing tobacco, the leading cause of preventable death worldwide.
The science is there. Type into any search engine and you will see the statistics. Vaping is 95 per cent safer than smoking.
Yet government agencies like the USFDA and politicians like Sajid Javid are starting to echo the WHO’s misguided sentiment. For example, Sajid Javid wants to ban vape sales to under 21s. That may not seem like a huge deal. After all, we don’t want children to start vaping thinking it’s harmless.
But the fact is such policies are futile. They haven’t kept kids from alcohol, they don’t keep them from smoking, and they won’t keep them from vaping either. In 2018, 8 per cent of 11-15 year olds had reported being drunk once or twice in the last week. In the same year, 16 per cent of 11-15 year olds had ever smoked. All this policy does is restrict the sale of smoking’s safer alternative. In the UK, nearly two-thirds of the vaping population are ex-smokers. Any policy that disempowers those who wish to quit smoking is backwards.
In addition to keeping would-be ex-smokers from taking up the pen, this crackdown has also misled citizens into thinking that vaping is equally, if not more dangerous than smoking. Undoubtedly the WHO would see this as harmful collateral damage in their health utopia. Instead of trying to scare people into submission — a move which could backfire and lead many a smoker to forgo the switch to a safer alternative and simply keep on smoking — the WHO should be educating people about real risks to help them make informed decisions about their own health outcomes.
Besides, as a little digging into some recent data shows, Brits are not really interested in banning vapes. In fact, they’re more in favour of banning porn and violent video games than vaping, and 75 per cent say that vapes should be available to either 18 or 21 year olds. To those who want to see smoking fall by the wayside, that is reassuring.. Try as it might, the WHO is not winning with the public on this one.
In fact, many Brits are outraged by the WHO’s attempts to crackdown on vaping. Just look at the comments section on the UK E-cig website: “The WHO are a bunch of self-interested morons,” one comment reads. And I really could not have put it better myself. As a vaper who took it up at university to try and save my lungs, the WHO can politely do one. Of course, I intend to quit nicotine altogether, but that happens on my own terms, not because of relentless scaremongering.
Perhaps the lack of synonymous outrage from the public about vaping is because they know that e-cigs are a better alternative. Perhaps it is because they are sick of a global undemocratic force (which is supposed to be specialising in contagious disease) endlessly telling ex-smokers how to live their lives. Whatever the case, it is clear the WHO is out of touch with normal day to day life.