“Countries applying progressive Tobacco Harm Reduction policies are enjoying a significant fall in smoking rates. Whereas those following the World Health Organization’s guidance continue to experience excessive smoking-related illnesses and deaths,” said the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA).
CAPHRA Executive Coordinator Nancy Loucas, said that thankfully the release of this significant data coincides with the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which is holding its infamous COP9 session in November. “Ultimately, this paper proves countries that embrace vaping, such as France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada, have witnessed a decrease in smoking rates that is twice as fast as the global average,” she said.
Another report released earlier this year, indicated that more than half of global smoking-related deaths occur in Asia and the Far East (A&FE). In response to this data consumer advocates and tobacco harm reduction (THR) experts are once again calling on the WHO and governments in the region, to allow smokers access to safer nicotine alternatives.
The experts made the statement during the launch of the latest Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR) report last April, held by public health agency Knowledge Action Change (KAC) and the Association of Vapers India (AVI). Published by KAC and edited by Harry Shapiro, the regional report “Tobacco Harm Reduction: A Burning Issue for Asia and the Far East” noted that “over half of the world’s smokers who die every year, die in Asia and the Far East (A&FE).”
Alarming smoking rates in Asia
The publication indicated that there is little evidence showing that existing tobacco control strategies are working, as most smokers in the region have a low desire to quit. This where safer nicotine products [SNPs], such as e-cigarettes would be particularly beneficial, as it would allow these smokers to switch to safer nicotine products whilst getting the preferred dose of the substance they struggle to give up.
Instead, said Loucas, lawmakers in the region seem to have waged a war against tobacco harm reduction. “The biggest challenges facing tobacco harm reduction in Asia are not only government interest in tobacco manufacturing which is pretty huge in the region, but also the reach of philanthropic colonialism. That is, foreigners coming to countries and using private foundations or NGOs which they fund to help guide governments in developing policies.”