A FORMER Cabinet minister has demanded that Britain helps save millions of lives by using its Brexit freedoms to stand up to the European Union (EU) during the next summit on tobacco organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
David Jones, a former Welsh Secretary and Brexit minister, made his intervention after a leading anti-smoking campaigner accused the WHO of putting millions of lives at risk by trying to ban e-cigarettes which are 95 percent safer than traditional tobacco products. Clive Bates, the former director of the anti-smoking campaign group ASH, branded the WHO as “negligent and incompetent” and claimed that the global health body is “ignoring the science”.
He said: “Millions of lives are on the line. That is not hyperbole. If you resist a life-saving technology where progress has been very slow in the past then essentially you are culpable in denying people that life-saving technology and the result will be more cases of disease and death.”
There are concerns though that the WHO will not recognise the UK as an independent voice at its COP9 summit next month on tobacco products and smoking.
Instead, it will defer to the EU which shares its opposition to e-cigarettes as the voice for the Europe region.
Mr Jones insisted that the UK must use its newly won independent voice to explain the benefits of using e-cigarettes as a way of saving lives by getting people to switch from traditional tobacco products.
Around 8 million people a year die worldwide from tobacco-related health issues but the UK is one of the few countries to successfully use e-cigarettes and vaping to save lives.
Mr Jones said: “The WHO has launched an anti-scientific crusade against vaping, which has been shown time and time again to help smokers quit. The organisation consistently praises nations who undertake ever more draconian measures against vaping.‘’
“These decisions cost lives, and the UK must take a stand. Just like the EU, the WHO is a bureaucratic body, unaccountable to the British people, and is aiming to control domestic health policy, to satisfy its own prejudices. ‘’
“Brexit offers us a unique opportunity to assert our sovereignty, and ensure our health policy remains unaffected by outside interference.’’
“Unlike previous COPs, the UK does not have to join the EU’s position. We are not bound by Brussels, we are. “Brinkwire Summary News”.