WASHINGTON (Nov. 18, 2019) – Under several international law treaties, governments have a duty to provide citizens a right to health as a basic human right. When we consider the widespread availability of combustible cigarettes that are proven deadly, governments may have a duty to provide liberal e-vapor product markets to reflect a committed pursuit of this objective.

In a new policy study, Marina Foltea, founder and managing director of Trade Pacts, an international trade and investment advisory based in Geneva, Switzerland, argues that the recognition of health as a right under international law demonstrates its importance for most nations and considers that the protection of human health is a responsibility that must be undertaken by governing bodies.

She cites the findings of major leading public health experts that claim e-vapor products are considered to carry no more than 5 percent of the risk associated with combustible cigarettes.

She finds that under international treaties, governments may have a duty to provide access to less harmful alternatives to combustible cigarettes in the pursuit of a right to health. This includes equal or preferential taxation and treatment of e-vapor products.

She concludes, “The right to health is a prerogative inherent to every human being. The protection of the human right to health requires states to take into consideration this objective in the design and implementation of their laws and policies, including those regarding taxation and trade. Consequently, governments must examine the perceptions and behaviors of consumers, and in so doing, should not neglect the data that shows there is a growing number of consumers using EVPs as an alternative or substitute to smoking.”