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Letter from 53 scientists to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan generates biggest ever global media coverage on e-cigarettes - Nicotine Science and Policy

Letter from 53 scientists to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan generates biggest ever global media coverage on e-cigarettes

Nicotine Science & Policy | 9 June 2014

The letter from 53 scientists sent to WHO Director-General Margaret Chan on May 26 urging the organisation to refrain from classifying e-cigarettes as regular tobacco products received wide media coverage across the world. The letter was sent ahead of the upcoming WHO sponsored Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) meeting in Moscow this October.

reutersThe Reuters story ran strongly throughout the US and across Europe and the Agence France-Presse story circulated widely in the Asia Pacific region from Australia though to Thailand,(Bangkok Post) Malaysia (New Straits Times), Korea, Japan (Japan Times) and India (Times of India) as well as parts of Europe. Between them the two pieces drove broad online coverage in Poland, France, Belgium, Hungary, Greece, Italy, UK, Sweden, Belgium, Portugal, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Ukraine, Russia and also reached Africa and Brazil.

financialtimesOnce both these stories had run, other agencies adapted them to their local context. The Press Association agency, based in the UK ran a story that was picked up by most UK newspapers. Papers such as theFinancial Times and the Daily Mail however produced their own stories with the latter especially attracting a strong reaction on social media as well.

 

bbc-newsThe BBC ran a feature piece including Gerry Stimson and the BBC´s interview ran on the outlet’s home page, was the lead health story throughout day, and also the lead news story on BBC´s Newshour programme. The piece was subsequently broadcast throughout the day on all BBC TV news programming. Other signatories such as John Britton (Today) and Robert West (Newsday) and Lynne Dawkins (7pm News) were also featured on the BBC. David Sweanor gave two interviews to both Canada’s national radio and TV Broadcaster CBC. Jacque Le Houzec participated in a World No Tobacco Day panel on Radio France International’s health show Priorité Santé. Gerry Stimson also gave interviews for ABC radio Australia and Channel News Asia, and local BBC radio stations across the UK.

medical-dailyThe story generated debate in countries likeAustralia and New Zealand that have been very hardline in their stance to the regulation of e-cigarettes. Many specialist publications like Medical News TodayMedical Daily and the British Medical Journal also ran pieces.

The story was picked up on social media. The Daily Mail story attracted some 750 shares and around 300 comments. The BBC piece attracted over 800 comments and the Guardian online piece attracted over 400 comments.

scotsmanThe story continues to run after May 29 and has generated number of opinion pieces in publication such asThe Scotsman, The Guardian and the New Zealand Herald.

An opinion co-authored by 5 of the signatories ran in a key Greek newspaper Tovima and will also run in Le Monde during the week of June 9.

parliamentukThe letter has also been circulated in the investment analyst community and is the subject of an Early Day Motion in the UK Parliament.

Soon after the media coverage started WHO removed its former statement on e-cigarettes from its website and replaced it with a new holding statement.

A selection of the coverage:

Reuters

Reuters French

Reuters Spanish

AFP

Press Association

African

  • Numerous pan-African online media reported the Reuters’ release.

Australia

Coverage included leading TV ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) and online media, with reference to the four Australian experts who signed the letter and quotes from them and from Simon Chapman.

Brazil

Many online and print media reported either the Reuters’ or BBC stories modified and adapted to address the local debate. Reports include leading web-news portal IG, weekly magazine Exame and media group O Globo.

Bulgaria

Almost all major online media and a couple of leading print dailies reported the news, with a total of over 20 features.

Cambodia

Letter playing into debate in Cambodia, where e-cigs are banned.

www.cambodiadaily.com/news/ban-turns-e-cigarettes-into-back-alley-trade-60499

Canada

Coverage included leading TVs, such as CBC, and online media, featuring statements by D. Sweanor and reference to studies and the ongoing debate on e-cigarettes.

Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, Uruguay

  • Online media featured short versions of the Reuters’ story.

France

 

Numerous stories in TV, radios, online and print media, including the leading Le Figaro, Le Monde, L’Humanité and Le Parisien. Coverage includes quotes from Prof. Dautzenberg, B. Lepoutre (AIDUCE), F. Beck (OFDT- French Observatory on Drugs and Addiction), M. Kazatchkine (Graduate Institute Geneva).

Greece

 

India

Italy

Japan

New Zealand

Poland

Portugal

Stories in online and print media, including the leading dailies Diario das Noticias and Publico

Russia

  • Numerous newswires, online media and websites of daily newspapers reported the news.

Singapore

Spain

Numerous stories in online and print media, including the leading business daily El Economista.

Switzerland

Almost all leading media reported on the matter. The most interesting features were issued by leading TV RTS and daily Le Matin. Coverage included quotes from co-signatories J.F. Etter and M. Kazatchkine.

Sweden

Ukraine

Widespread coverage online featuring the Reuters’ release.

United Kingdom

Various

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