With the onset of COVID-19, governments around the world are frantically trying to put measures in place to deal with the greatest crisis we have faced in a generation. In many countries all but non-essential businesses have been shut, mass gatherings have been banned, countries have closed their borders and strict travel restrictions have been put in place. These measures, together with social distancing, are vital to ensure we ‘flatten the curve’ and slow down the spread of the virus, but they have also presented some challenges and had unintended consequences of their own.
Facebook and Vapolitique
One social media platform appears to be doing its utmost to restrict the free flow of information.
Philippe Poirson found himself locked out of Facebook after he shared an article from the newspaper 24 Heures, regarding chloroquine tests on COVID-19 at the Lausanne hospital, on the grounds that he’d breached the policy on “organized violence and apology for crime”.
The crackdown on Vapolitique’s Poirson follows a ban being issued to Dr. Philippe Arvers, an addiction and tobacco specialist at the Armed Forces Medical Center, for sharing a VICE article denigrating studies by Stanton Glantz.
In this hard-hitting post researcher Karl Erik Lund slams Dagens Næringsliv’s (Norway’s largest financial newspaper) biased and erroneous report on e-cigarettes. On 1st February the DN ran a hugely negative fourteen-page article on vaping. Prior to the article, the newspaper had published a dramatic video-trailer on its website. The newspaper received a lot of reaction from vapers, and Nikan wrote to the journalists responsible. However, no corrections were made.
What follows is an English translation of Vape: la direction de l'OMS pousse pour la défense du tabac indien et l'agenda électoral de Bloomberg contre la science, written by Philippe Poirson and published on Vapolitique, here.
Vaping took centre stage in what turned out to be a concerning briefing at the 146th session of the WHO Executive Board (EB146) in Geneva on 4 February. Put on the agenda by Iraq, a nation where vaping is not a priority, the subject was introduced by the Director-General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu. Although the session had only an informative and non-decision-making status, the direction desired by the Secretariat of WHO left no room for doubt. Tedros has taken up the language of the billionaire candidate for the White House, Michael Bloomberg, by repeating the unsupported belief that vaping is toxic and a threat to young people. "We know enough to have to protect our children from their harmful effects," says Dr Tedros as a policy line for the WHO. This was without discussing harm reduction in the context of smoking, nor relevant scientific work of independent organizations, notably those in the UK.