In the last February, an Asia-wide education and information campaign #SmokeFree4Life was leading by the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA). This campaign aims to urge the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Philippines’ Department of Health (DOH) to respect the rights of using e-cigarettes as safer alternatives.
This movement also aims to make people aware of safer alternatives to tobacco, such as electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). ENDS, including electronic cigarettes, heat-not-burn tobacco products, and smokeless tobacco.
However, WHO emphasizes the harm of ENDS and not considers it as a safer alternative to tobacco:
“Evidence is clear that the aerosols of the majority of ENDS contain toxic chemicals, including nicotine and substances that can cause cancer.ENDS on their own are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and lung disorders and adverse effects on the development of the fetus during pregnancy. ENDS are undoubtedly harmful, should be strictly regulated, and, most importantly, must be kept away from children.”
Nancy Loucas is the director of the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPRA) and Co-Director of Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy (AVCA). She has recently pointed out that the WHO’s position on reducing tobacco harm is wrong, and its ‘inaction’ is now leading to numerous deaths.
Moreover, She illustrated there are about one million deaths per year in the Asia-Pacific region alone because of tobacco smoking, which actually could be avoided or reduced by switching to a safer alternative.
“Because of WHO’s unmoved position, smokers in many countries remain highly vulnerable and are likely to stick with smoking until they die. Let’s not forget that about 80 percent of the world’s 1.1 billion smokers live in low and middle-income countries like the Philippines.”
Therefore, a CAPHRA expert advisory group has written a letter to explain the potential of Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) products as safer alternatives to tobacco, includes snus, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), or e-cigarettes and electronically-heated or heat-not-burn tobacco. This letter is sent to the top ministers of Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand to combating smoking and its associated harm.
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