WHO softens stance on smoking, urges countries to sign new pact

1st April 2018: Decades of tobacco industry lobbying unexpectedly paid off today when the World Health Organization (WHO) said it now recommended cigarette smoking as a cure for asthma, colds and sore throats.

Use of combustibles – especially without filters – could also help protect against infection and disease, and make individuals appear sexy, confident and interesting, the public health arm of the United Nations added.

It called for further research into what it described as “promising evidence” that headaches could be treated by breathing the odour of the fresh tobacco plant, minor lesions soothed with a poultice of hot tobacco leaves, and evil spirits warded off by mixing cigarette ash with the blood of a freshly-slain chicken.

Coming after decades of staunch opposition to smoking, the policy about-turn at the WHO surprised many observers.

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    “We’ve already spent a whole month updating our advice for general practitioners to reflect the WHO’s recent endorsement of rabbit’s-foot charms and protective crystals,” said one national public health director who asked not to be named. “And now this. It’s enough to send one’s black and yellow bile into a dangerous state of imbalance.”

    However, while the WHO’s new stance will be welcomed by many, there is likely to be controversy over the more hostile attitude it is taking toward clinical researchers.

    States are being urged to sign up to the global body’s new Framework Convention On Just Guessing Really And Keeping Our Fingers Crossed Because Even If It Doesn’t Do Any Good Surely It Can’t Do Any Harm, a treaty which would rigorously exclude the medical, scientific and academic communities from future WHO meetings.

    – Hiram Schnauzer ECigIntelligence astrology editor

    Barnaby Page

    Editorial director
    Before joining ECigIntelligence in early 2014 as one of its first employees, Barnaby had a 30-year career as a reporter and editor for newspapers, magazines and online services, working in Canada, the US and the Middle East as well as his current British location. He has edited publications covering fields including technology and the advertising industry, and was launch editor of the first large daily online news service in the British regional media. Barnaby also writes on classical music and film for a number of publications. Barnaby manages the editorial and reporting teams and works closely with the analyst teams, to ensure that all content meets high standards of quality and relevance. He also writes for the site occasionally, mostly on science-related issues, and is a member of the Association of British Science Writers.

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