News & Media

Report Calls On Policymakers To Act Now To End Smoking By Promoting Vaping

Report Calls On Policymakers To Act Now To End Smoking By Promoting Vaping

A LANDMARK report is calling on global policymakers to seize the opportunity to bring an end to smoking while it's "within reach" - and wants vaping and alternative nicotine therapies promoted to smokers to achieve it.

The new Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR) report has highlighted that despite years of investment and campaigning, international tobacco control measures have stalled and for two decades the number of smokers worldwide has remained "static" at 1.1 billion.

It says that during this time a whole range of harm reduction therapies including e-cigarettes, gum and patches have emerged which could greatly reduce this number - since smoking-related deaths do not relate to nicotine within cigarettes but the thousands of chemicals in burning tobacco.

GSTHR estimates that while over 112 million people were already using these nicotine alternatives globally in 2021, many of these safer products are banned or face prohibitive regulation, while cigarettes remain legal.

Calling on global policymakers to bring about change to the current "illogical" situation, it said divisions within public health and political worlds were blocking progress.

It said governments now needed to wise up to what was going on, so more people could be saved from damage - and potential death - from cigarette smoking. It singled out the emergence of vaping as having caused "seismic disruption" to the progress of all areas of tobacco harm reduction - and that needed to change.

UK-based public health agency Knowledge Action Change, which is dedicated to the promotion of harm reduction to improve health, explained in their report:

"Prohibition of safer products, while deadly combustibles remain on sale, is illogical. It will ultimately fail. Meanwhile, with over a billion customers for cigarettes, the tobacco industry's core business is rock solid; it can afford to watch the battle over tobacco harm reduction play out."

"Effective harm reduction interventions, at minimal cost to governments and health agencies, can end smoking within a generation. The alternative is a continuation of approaches that will continue to fail those most in need. The price will be counted in the millions of lives that could otherwise be saved."

Officially entitled The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2022: The Right Side of History, the report not only charted what measures and legislation have been adopted in the past to help smokers quit, it also looked at ways of improving legacy in the future to bring about an end to smoking, which it says is responsible for 8 million worldwide deaths each year.

It added:

"Tobacco harm reduction encourages people who smoke or use risky tobacco to switch to the use of safer nicotine products. The adoption of a harm reduction approach is complementary to existing tobacco control interventions."

"The emergence of safer nicotine products, especially vaping, has brought seismic disruption to the commercial, clinical, public health and legislative landscapes. This disruption has dominated the history of tobacco harm reduction so far."

At the report launch, GSTHR Project Lead, Professor Gerry Stimson, argued that policymakers must integrate tobacco harm reduction into the international response to tobacco - while an end to smoking was within reach.

He said:

"Ideology must be set aside in favour of an openness to new thinking, and a critical but balanced evaluation of the science. Evidence shows that people will switch away from deadly smoking to safer nicotine products if they are given the chance. An end to smoking is within reach - we must not let it slip from our grasp."


Reading next

Vape Ban For Football Fans Going To World Cup in Qatar
Ex Smokers Prefer Fruity E-Liquids Says Doctor's FDA Survey

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.