The Importance of Standards

Global trade drives the world economy and as a result most countries adhere to similar rules and regulations from accounting practices and financial payments to how goods are packaged and shipped. From balance sheets to shipping containers, the world operates with International standards, which is critical to ensuring the fair and efficient flow of goods and services.

Unfortunately, this level of standardization doesn’t apply to all areas of regulation and all countries. In some ways, Asian countries lag their western counterparts when it comes to different industries. One notable example is the policy and implementation for rules on Vaping.

Countries like the UK, Canada and New Zealand have approved Vaping but have regulated the products to keep them out of the hands of youth. They are often seen as a better substitute to cigarettes and a way to help smokers switch to a better alternative. According to scientific research, smoking diseases are caused by the smoke generated from combustion. Without burning, smoke free products like vaping can reduce up to 95% of the chemicals.

Asia is home to around 30% of the world smoking population. Across Asia many policy makers maintain a different position on Vaping. This is a sensitive subject that not many people want to touch. However, according to WHO, there will still be around 1 billion smokers by 2025, so it’s critical to provide these people with accurate information to make their own decisions.

Increasingly incorrect perceptions among the public about the harms of vaping could prevent some smokers using vaping products to quit smoking.

This is a quote from Public Health England’s recent press release.  There is a lot of misleading and incorrect reporting on Vaping and as such transparency and a clear explanation of research study methodologies is critical. A recent example in the US underscores this. Last month, the American Heart Association’s academic journal had to retract a widely-quoted study on Vaping which erroneously claimed that it led to an increased risk of heart attack.  The study’s authors, Stanton Glantz and Dharma Bhatta of the University of California, San Francisco drew their conclusions from misleading data based on Vapers who were also former or current smokers. Brad Rodu, a tobacco control expert at the University of Louisville spotted the anomalies which lead to the Journal of the American Heart Association concluding that the study was unreliable.

Clearly responsible reporting and consistency is critical. This topic requires a multidimensional approach and that requires fair, accurate and trustworthy information. Asian countries which are currently evaluating Vaping can learn from others’ experience. The key is to provide citizens with balanced, up to date and transparent information. If global trade flourishes on a global standard, we’d hope information can too.