WHO faces pushback about claim that vaping increases risk of COVID-19 contraction

While health experts and scientists have learned a lot about the coronavirus disease over the past year, there is still a lot of evidence needed to truly understand who is at a greater risk of contraction and what can be done to prevent it. Needless to say, there has been continued hearsay in briefs and materials published by the World Health Organization (WHO) attempting to link vaping and COVID-19. WHO has recently stated that as “the COVID-19 virus affects the respiratory tract; the hand-to-mouth action of e-cigarettes may increase the risk of infection.” However, this statement is not supported by scientific evidence, which has severely demonized an industry whose primary purpose has always been to help combustible cigarette users quit tobacco smoking. Here is everything you need to know about the WHO’s pushback.

What is CAPHRA?

The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) is an alliance between the Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates and their respective organizations in the region. Their mission is aimed at educating, advocating, and representing the rights of every adult to alternative nicotine consumption with access to products that reduce harm from tobacco use. 

What’s WHO being accused of?

CAPHRA asked the WHO in late January to stop peddling lies and fear about the risks of contracting COVID-19 through vaping or the use of e-cigarettes. 

In a 103-page white paper, CAPHRA addresses WHO’s said vaping/COVID-19 link as their latest dangerous lie backing a historically anti-smoking agenda. The group noted that WHO, in its quest to rid the world of smoking, deliberately is preventing millions of adult combustible cigarette smokers from gaining access to safer vaping products.

“For years, the WHO has created a steady stream of anti-vaping claims, which have had dire consequences for adult smokers seeking to quit. It has also led to many governments passing legislation that bans vaping and all related products,” said CAPHRA executive coordinator Nancy Loucas.  

“By going this route, the WHO has chosen to support deadly [combustible] cigarette consumption over a healthier alternative and in the process has forced vaping into the waiting hands of the black market… the lack of legislation means that these unregulated products end up in the hands of minors, courtesy of the WHO,” she noted. 

Are there any reputable COVID-19 studies to support WHO’s alleged claims? 

CAPHRA said that contrary to WHO’s alleged claims, a review of global medical research has shown no such connection between vaping, an alternative nicotine consumption method, and the contraction of COVID-19.

It was further noted that there are peer-reviewed studies to support the following WHO counterclaims:

  • There’s a noticeably lower percentage of vapers among COVID-19 patients
  • Nicotine could be a deterrent to COVID-19

Overall, vaping is currently considered to be inconclusive at best, with further studies needed before such claims from the WHO can be made. 

“There are currently no peer-reviewed studies that have evaluated the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection among smokers. This research question requires well-designed population-based studies that control for age and relevant underlying risk factors” said Loucas. 

Have you expressed your concerns to your local elected representatives? Here’s a link to help you find your representative and share your thoughts on anti-vaping legislation. You can also drop a comment below for tips on how you can be a voice for vaping within your community. 

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