UN treaty cracks down on heated tobacco products

October 6, 2018

Members of a global tobacco treaty took a hard line Saturday on heated tobacco products, agreeing that they should face the same restrictions as cigarettes despite possibly being less deadly.

The industry has argued that the World Health Organization was missing an opportunity to save lives by not making compromises on heated tobacco products, which create smoke-filled nicotine without some of the cancerous burning agents found in cigarettes.

But the eighth meeting of state parties to the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which closed Saturday, dismissed that argument and instead called for the same bans on advertising, promotion and sponsorship deals that apply to cigarettes.

"Tobacco use should not be renormalised, but should continue to be denormalised as a socially acceptable behaviour," FCTC chief Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva told reporters.

She argued that the tobacco industry was disingenuously trying to suggest that promoting heated tobacco could be part "of a harm reduction strategy."

"Their only objective is to sell their products," she said.

The FCTC's decisions serve as guidelines for states to follow but are not legally binding.

Carmen Audera, a consultant to the FCTC, ranked heated tobacco as less harmful than cigarettes but more deadly than e-cigarettes, which typically contain no tobacco.

But she told reporters that long-term testing on heated tobacco was non-existent and voiced concern that promoting the products would ultimately see less people quit smoking.

"People who have the intention to quit don't quit because these substances are in the market," she said. "This is what the tobacco industry knows: people go back to the real thing (cigarettes)."

Moira Gilchrist, Philip Morris International (PMI)'s vice president of scientific and public communications, told reporters earlier this week that the WHO has "so far has not fully recognised the potential benefits of tobacco harm-reduction products."

"We are encouraging every single smoker that we can to abandon cigarettes. If they are not going to abandon nicotine or tobacco use completely, then they should switch to these new products," she added.

WHO officials and NGOs have repeatedly complained about the 's efforts to infiltrate FCTC meetings, through government delegations or agents posing as journalists.

The objective of these agents is to obstruct the talks, peddle misinformation and block consensus, WHO has said.

Costa e Silva said that two people accredited as journalists were expelled from this week's FCTC conference following revelations that they were tied to .

Explore further: Battle for lungs and minds as tobacco control treaty meeting opens

Related Stories

Battle for lungs and minds as tobacco control treaty meeting opens

October 1, 2018
A meeting on a global tobacco control treaty opened in Geneva Monday, with organisers scrambling to keep cigarette companies at bay, even as the industry demanded a seat at the table.

'Game-changing' global pact against illicit tobacco trade kicks in

September 24, 2018
A global pact to battle the illegal tobacco trade kicks in this week, with the World Health Organization hailing it as "game-changing" in eliminating widespread health-hazardous and criminal activity.

AMA calls for greater electronic cigarette regulation

August 7, 2018
(HealthDay)—The American Medical Association (AMA) has adopted several policies to improve the regulation of tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), according to an article published in the association's ...

Fewer U.S. kids use tobacco, but numbers still too high: officials

June 7, 2018
(HealthDay)—The number of U.S. middle and high school students who use tobacco fell from 4.5 million in 2011 to 3.6 million in 2017, but that number is still far too high, federal health officials reported Thursday.

Tobacco 'power wall' linked to adolescents' views about e-cigarettes

August 6, 2018
Adolescents who view advertising for tobacco products on the tobacco "power wall" in convenience stores report being more willing to try vaping products in the future compared to peers who visited a store where the tobacco ...

Global gov'ts: Make tobacco firms liable for smoking harm

November 13, 2016
A global conference on tobacco control has pledged to hold the tobacco industry legally liable for health consequences of smoking and protect public health policies from the influence of tobacco companies.

Recommended for you

A co-worker's rudeness can affect your sleep—and your partner's, study finds

December 14, 2018
Rudeness. Sarcastic comments. Demeaning language. Interrupting or talking over someone in a meeting. Workplace incivilities such as these are becoming increasingly common, and a new study from Portland State University and ...

A holiday gift to primary care doctors: Proof of their time crunch

December 14, 2018
The average primary care doctor needs to work six more hours a day than they already do, in order to make sure their patients get all the preventive and early-detection care they want and deserve, a new study finds.

Teens get more sleep with later school start time, researchers find

December 12, 2018
When Seattle Public Schools announced that it would reorganize school start times across the district for the fall of 2016, the massive undertaking took more than a year to deploy. Elementary schools started earlier, while ...

Large restaurant portions a global problem, study finds

December 12, 2018
A new multi-country study finds that large, high-calorie portion sizes in fast food and full service restaurants is not a problem unique to the United States. An international team of researchers found that 94 percent of ...

Receiving genetic information can change risk

December 11, 2018
Millions of people in the United States alone have submitted their DNA for analysis and received information that not only predicts their risk for disease but, it turns out, in some cases might also have influenced that risk, ...

Yes please to yoghurt and cheese: The new improved Mediterranean diet

December 11, 2018
Thousands of Australians can take heart as new research from the University of South Australia shows a dairy-enhanced Mediterranean diet will significantly increase health outcomes for those at risk of cardiovascular disease ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.