Delon Human

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Delon Human is a South African doctor who has a history of collaborating with British American Tobacco (BAT) on tobacco harm reduction.

Background

Human served As Secretary General at the World Medical Association (WMA) from 1998 to 2004.12In 2000, representing the WMA, Human participated in a meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) Steering Committee on Immunization Safety, which aimed to build partnerships and joint strategies for the safe immunization of children.3

Human is often referred to, among others, as having served as an “adviser to the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon”.45Though he was briefly considered an advisor to the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO) during his time as Secretary-General of the International Food and Beverage Alliance (see below), he was removed by WHO after his links to the tobacco industry became known.6

Relationship with the Tobacco Industry

Helped British American Tobacco to ‘Re-Normalise’

Human has been part of BAT’s strategy to reframe the company as a policy partner in tobacco control, something the tobacco industry has long aspired to, with harm reduction narrative and products offering the tobacco industry the opportunity to (re)-establish dialogue with policy makers, and to rebuild their corporate image as a responsible business.7

Human was quoted in BAT’s 2013 Sustainability Report, saying that “through its public commitment to tobacco harm reduction” BAT “makes itself accountable to its consumers and society. This should be applauded and, if successful, BAT could become part of the solution to addressing the epidemic of tobacco-related disease.”8

Two companies owned by Human have provided consultancy services to BAT in relation to tobacco harm reduction.

Health Diplomats

Human is the President and CEO of Health Diplomats, a health and consulting company he set up in in 2007.  The company’s website states that its clients “include Fortune 500 companies, global foundations, trade associations, governments and NGOs”.9This includes BAT.

In November 2019, the Health Diplomats website stated:

  •  “Our current work, in advancing tobacco harm reduction policies, science and products, is in partnership with Nicoventures, a subsidiary of the British American Tobacco company. The goal is to help establish tobacco harm reduction policies and science. In addition, to increase smokers’ access to innovative, non-combustible forms of nicotine delivery, thereby improving smoking cessation and global health”.10

The website further states that Health Diplomats also provides “consulting services to private sector companies in the field of food, beverage and alcohol harm reduction”.10

In February 2019, Riccardo Polosa, a harm reduction researcher who had previously accepted funding from Philip Morris International (PMI), wrote to UK Parliament and informed them that he was contracted by Health Diplomats to provide consultancy services to “subsidiaries of British American Tobacco…”.11Polosa and Human both sit on the Medical Advisory Board of a Canadian cannabis company called PharmaCielo (see below).

NicoLIFE

NicoLIFE was a company set up by Human in 2008 but no longer active in 2019.12NicoLIFE was set up to promote a “…wise nicotine policy, science and products to enable smoking cessation and reduce tobacco harm”.13BAT’s 2013 Sustainability Report states that “NicoLife has provided consultancy services to BAT on our approach to harm reduction”.8In addition, in 2010 BAT funded NicoLIFE/Human to write a book on harm reduction, entitled ”Wise Nicotine”.14The foreword to the book says “British American Tobacco (Holdings) Limited, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco PLC, has provided funding and access to appropriate company information for the development and production of the book to NicoLIFE SSA, of which the Dr Delon Human is the principal”. The foreword continues: “Other than the provision of funding, BAT’s role in the production of the book has been limited to supplying information on request and to reviewing extracts from the final version of the book for technical accuracy of any information it provided,” but added that “the statements, findings, conclusions and recommendations contained in the book were developed independently of BAT”.

Invited Speaker at Tobacco Industry Events

Up until 2015, Human was a semi-regular speaker at the Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum (GTNF), formerly known as the Global Tobacco Networking Forum, which is sponsored by tobacco companies.151617See the following pages:

Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum 2015

Global Tobacco Networking Forum 2013

Global Tobacco Networking Forum 2012

In 2016, Human was a keynote speaker at the CORESTA Congress in Berlin.18Coresta is an industry organisation ‘for scientific research relative to tobacco’. Human was invited to speak about Harm reduction and the opportunity of Next Generation Products.19

Human has also appeared on the list of speakers at the Global Forum on Nicotine, an event which has provided a platform for the tobacco industry and others to promote tobacco harm reduction.20

Critical of Elements of South African Tobacco Control Bill

In June 2015, Human and Kgosi Letlape co-founded the Africa Harm Reduction Alliance (AHRA).21In his role as AHRA’s co-founder, Human has challenged the inclusion of E-cigarettes in the proposed South African tobacco control bill that was going through Parliament in 2019.2223Human argued that by including e-cigarettes, the Bill treats such products as having the same risk profile as conventional cigarettes, whereas in Human’s views “new research showing that vaping products are 95% to 99% safer than conventional cigarettes”.23Human may have referred to findings of an evidence review published in March 2018  by Public Health England,24whose stance on e-cigarettes has caused significant controversy in Britain and more so internationally.25

Human also rejected the claim that the rise in the e-cigarette industry was due to tobacco companies moving in.22

Relationship with Food and Beverage Industry

International Food and Beverage Alliance

From 2010 to 2015, Human was the Secretary-General of lobby group International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA),21an alliance of the leading twelve food and non-alcoholic drinks companies, such as Nestle, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Unilever, amongst others.26Human was allegedly removed as IFBA’s Secretary-General after his tobacco industry links became known to the WHO.6

Involvement in Cannabis Industry

Since November 2016, Human has sat on the Medical Advisory Board (MAB) of Canadian cannabis company, PharmaCielo.27MAB’s responsibility is to “provide guidance on the development of medicinal-grade cannabis oil extracts and related products appropriate for use by clinical practitioners”.27

The company has two other scientists on its MAB who are extensively involved tobacco harm reduction research: Riccardo Polosa (mentioned above) and Konstantinos Farsalinos.28

In August 2019, Human was appointed to the Board of Directors of First Columbia Development Corp.29At the time, Human was quoted as saying:

“I look forward to helping refine strategy and support the growth of First Colombia in this rapidly evolving U.S. medicinal cannabis industry”.29

He added that he was particularly looking forward “to develop innovative ways to advance provider and consumer acceptance of science-based new practices and products”.29

In November 2019, Human was lined up to speak at the Global CannaTech Conference held in Cape Town, where he was scheduled to talk about “the benefits and risks of this new product category [cannabis] and how public health can help deliver science-based, proportionate and sound products standards”.4

Other Organisations Owned by Human

  • EuroSwiss Health SA, established in 2003.30The company, which does not appear to have a website, is a collaboration between Human and Pierre-Yves Mayor.30This consultancy funded the 2014 Nutt et al study31which assessed the relative harm of nicotine-containing products, and controversially concluded that e-cigarette use is around 95% safer than smoking.3233Apart from funding this paper, Euroswiss Health appears to have not had any other activities in tobacco harm reduction, or any other activity for that matter.
  • The Human Salmon Foundation, a charitable organisation set up in 2007 by Human and his wife, to “enabling vulnerable children to face the future with confidence by supporting sustainable health, education and community programs”.34
  • Biologix Hair Inc, a hair loss replacement company.35Some reports suggest that this company may now be trading as Happy Town Holdings, with Human one of its Directors.36

Human also used to be the owner of now defunct Swisspine Prt, a company that offered spinal implants.37

 

TobaccoTactics Resources

British American Tobacco

Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum

CORESTA

Global Forum on Nicotine

Riccardo Polosa

 

References

  1. World Medical Association, New Secretary General takes over at World Medical Association, WMA website, 19 February 1998, accessed November 2019
  2. World Medical Association, New WMA Secretary General Appointed, WMA website, 11 October 2004, accessed November 2019
  3. World Health Organization, Report of the second meeting of the Steering Committee on Immunization Safety, 26-27 October 2000, accessed November 2019
  4. abSpeakers: Dr. Delon Human, CannaTech 2019 website, 24-26 November 2019, accessed November 2019
  5. PharmaCielo, Dr. Delon Human profile, 2019, accessed November 2019
  6. abWorld Health Organization, Email reply to TobaccoTactics editor 19 November 2019  11:43, subject: RE: Question about Delon Human’s connection with WHO
  7. S Peeters, AB Gilmore, Understanding the emergence of the tobacco industry’s use of the term tobacco harm reduction in order to inform public health policy, ”Tobacco Control”, Online first 22 January 2014, accessed August 2015
  8. abBritish American Tobacco, Why it Matters – A Focus on Harm Reduction, BAT’s Sustainability Focus Report, 2013, accessed November 2019
  9. Health Diplomats, Welcome to HEALTH Diplomats, Health Diplomats website, undated, accessed November 2019
  10. abHealth Diplomats, President and CEO, undated, accessed November 2019
  11. R. Polosa, Letter submitted by Professor Riccardo Polosa (ECG0106), February 2019, accessed March 2019
  12. NicoLIFE, easymonitoring,ch, accessed November 2019
  13. D. Human, Statement by Dr. Delon Human at the FDA Public Workshop on the Risks and Benefits of Long‐term use of Nicotine Replacement Therapies Washington DC, 27 October 2010, archived 24 October 2016
  14. D. Human, ”Wise Nicotine. Uncovering tobacco harm reduction, the best kept secret in public health”, Dennis Barber Limited, 26 November 2010
  15. Global Tobacco Networking Forum, Conference Website 2012, accessed December 2013
  16. Global Tobacco Networking Forum, Global Tobacco Networking Forum 2013, accessed September 2013
  17. Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum, Look who’s talking, 2015, accessed December 2017
  18. Coresta, Newsletter Issue 46, December 2016
  19. Coresta, Newsletter Issue 45, August 2016.
  20. Global Forum on Nicotine, Speakers 2014, undated, accessed February 2018
  21. abD. Human, Profile, linkedin.com, undated, accessed November 2019
  22. abvaping industry slams new tobacco bill, Legalbrief.co.za, 11 November 2019, accessed November 2019
  23. abhealth-E, Vaping industry slams ‘moralistic’ new tobacco bill, iol.co.za, 10 July 2018, accessed November 2019
  24. Public Health England, Evidence review of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products 2018: executive summary, updated 2 March 2018, accessed November 2019
  25. A. Matthews-King, Harmful effects of vaping being ignored by UK health authorities, leading professor says, ” The Independent”, 23 April 2019, accessed November 2019
  26. International Food and Beverage Alliance, IFBA website, accessed November 2019
  27. abPharmaCielo, Globenewsire.com, 30 November 2016, accessed Ocotber 2020
  28. PharmaCielo, Leadership Medical & Scientific Advisory Board, 2019, accessed November 2019
  29. abcFirst Columbia Development Corp. Appoints Recognized Global Health Leader Dr. Delon Human to Board of Directors, Bloomberg News, 14 August 2019, accessed November 2019
  30. abMoneyhouse, EuroSwiss Health SA entry, last change 15 April 2019, accessed November 2019
  31. D Nutt, L D Phillips, D Balfour, H V Curran, M Dockrell, J Foulds, K Fagerstrom, K Letlape, A Milton, R Polosa, J Ramsey, D. Sweanor, Estimating the Harms of Nicotine-Containing Products Using the MCDA Approach, European Addiction Research 20 (5) September 2014, accessed November 2019
  32. Public Health England, Underpinning evidence for the estimate that e-cigarette use is around 95% safer than smoking: Authors’ note, 2015, accessed November 2019
  33. S. Boseley, Public Health England under fire for saying e-cigarettes are 95% safer, The Guardian, 28 August 2015, accessed November 2019
  34. The Human Salmon Foundation, Our story, THSF website, 2019, accessed November 2019
  35. Biologix, Biologix Hair Inc. Announces Appointment of Mark Maybank as Chairman, Dr. Delon Human as Director, Marketwatch.com, 8 October 2013, accessed November 2019
  36. Stockopedia, HTP Happy Town Holdings Inc, Last Trade 15/11/19, accessed November 2019
  37. Swisspine Pty, Quality Spinal Implants, homepage, undated, archived 3 April 2016, accessed November 2019