The global health organization conveyed this message on Tuesday during a virtual media briefing hosted by the Network for Accountability of Tobacco Transnationals, focusing on the global tobacco treaty.
As defined by the National Institutes of Health, e-cigarettes are devices powered by batteries that individuals utilize to heat liquid, transforming it into a vapor that can be inhaled.
The WHO's global tobacco treaty serves as an evidence-based agreement that reasserts the right of all individuals to the highest attainable standard of health.
This announcement took place in anticipation of the upcoming 10th Conference of Parties to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in Panama.
Sabina Jacazzi, the Treaty Officer for Legal Affairs at WHO FCTC, emphasized during the conference that the novel and emerging products introduced by the tobacco industry fall within the classification of tobacco products.
She said, “The COP has adopted decisions on novel and emerging tobacco products, including heated tobacco products, and Electronic Nicotine and Non-nicotine delivery systems. It has clarified that HTPs are tobacco products and are subject to the WHO FCTC.
“As for ENDS/ENNDS, the COP clarified that parties that have not banned these should regulate them with the objective to prevent their initiation by youth and vulnerable groups, minimise potential health risks to users and those who are exposed to these products, prevent unproven health claims from being made about these products and protect tobacco control activities from commercial interests of the industry.
“In relation to the latest scientific evidence and policy recommendations on these products, I very much encourage checking the reports (by WHO and the Convention Secretariat) that will be considered at COP10, available online.”
The event also featured experts from around the world, including Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa.
In his speech, Oluwafemi noted that the latest data showed a global decline in smoking but revealed that the tobacco industry was adopting new tactics to deceive government officials and ensnare the public.
He said, “We’re having a trend now where the industry is trying to position itself as part of the solution and not the problem. That is also similar to what we had at the climate conference (2023 UN Climate Change Conference – COP 28) where the fossil fuel industry promoted net zero and some other false solutions.