- Tuesday, 26 August 2014 21:13
Disgraceful propaganda by WHO staff against e-cigarettes in social media
By Dr Farsalinos
In an unprecedented, for a prestigious organization, attempt to create fear and misinform the public and regulators, the WHO engaged in a disgraceful propaganda against e-cigarettes by assigning people (obviously staff members) to upload a series of tweets just after the statement about e-cigarettes was released. The messages were a collection of fear-mongering, scientifically unbased, confusing and misleading claims about the risks posed by e-cigarettes. Of note, they avoid to mention that all the risks mentioned are higher by orders of magnitude when someone smokes, therefore, in reality, it will be beneficial for a smoker to switch to e-cigarette use.
This propaganda is ethically unacceptable. It is sad to see a prestigious organization paying illiterate, ignorant people to tweet such messages. Obviously, their efforts are not focused on supporting the interest of public health but on attacking an invisible enemy, which should in reality be considered an ally (e-cigarettes). They ignore smokers and the potentially beneficial health effects of switching to e-cigarette use. They maintain an ideological and dogmatic stance against anything that contains nicotine, and reproduce false, unproven claims with the only purpose to discourage e-cigarette use by smokers. We should not forget the ridiculous claims made in the past by WHO officials, claiming that tobacco cigarettes are less harmful than e-cigarettes because they have a filter.
I am certain that there are people within the WHO who feel very uncomfortable with this situation and maintain a more cautious and neutral position. However, they seem to represent the minority, while the agenda is driven by other forces.
It is an ethical duty of the scientific community to strongly oppose such efforts. This is a very sensitive matter, and people engaged in such propaganda should be held accountable for every vaper who abandons e-cigarette use and goes back to smoking, and for every smoker who is discouraged from using e-cigarettes based on misinformation and intimidating tactics.
See below the tweets released from the WHO.