The aim of the organization will be the promoting and campaigning to the Philippine government with regards to the adoption of harm reduction strategies. “It refers to a range of practical strategies aimed at lessening the negative social and physical consequences associated with particularly risky human behaviors,” said Prof. Ron Christian Sison, Lead Convenor of HARAP, in explaining what harm reduction is.
Harm reduction does not stop with things related to substance use
“Harm reduction policies or programs are supported by 84 countries worldwide, with 74 countries having explicit supportive reference to harm reduction in national policy documents. HARAP is hopeful that the Philippines will follow suit,” said Sison.
HARAP’s member organizations include the Philippine Advocates for Road Safety (PARS) a network of road users, individuals and groups committed to advocating for road safety; The Red Whistle, an HIV and AIDS support group; 2030 Youth Force, a regional youth-led group promoting Sustainable Development; LoveYourself, an HIV testing, counseling, treatment group; and The Vapers Philippines, a consumer advocacy group that aims to educate about the relative safety of e-cigarettes and their potential as smoking cessation tools.
Most Filipino smokers would try smoke-free alternatives
With regards to tobacco harm reduction, a recent non-independant survey conducted locally by PMFTC Inc. (the Philippine affiliate of PMI) has indicated that 59% of the estimated 16 million Filipino smokers, would try smoke-free alternatives if they were “commercially available and subject to certain product safety standards.”
“The reality is that the moment we light anything on fire, we open up a chemical factory. This applies to the tobacco in a cigarette. The fuel in a car. Or the wood in a stove. And this is why there is a movement across sectors to reduce and eliminate combustion or burning,” said President of Denis Gorkun.
Of course more than an interest in harm reduction, Gorkun has a vested business interest. PMFTC, has just opened four IQOS stores in the Philippines. Found in the following locations: Eastwood Mall in Libis, Quezon City; SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City; SM Southmall in Las Piñas City; and Estancia Mall in Pasig City, the stores will be strictly selling the products to anyone 21 years and older. The shops will sell the IQOS devices, heat sticks and a range of accessories.
Read Further: Inquirer.Net