“The WHO FCTC's refusal to acknowledge Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) contradicts the acceptance of harm reduction in other areas of public health,” said Nancy Loucas, a public health policy expert and passionate advocate for tobacco harm reduction and executive coordinator of CAPHRA.
In a hard-hitting submission that reinforces harm reduction as a human right, CAPHRA is calling for the UN’s Special Rapporteur to review the behaviour of the WHO FCTC and the Global Ambassador for Non-Communicable Diseases regarding the stigmatization of THR and its supporters.
“Consumers of safer nicotine products face criminalisation in countries with outright bans, such as India and Thailand, and are stigmatised globally by public health officials, tobacco controllers, and NGOs,” said Ms Loucas.
“Yet, Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) has been successfully implemented in countries like New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines, significantly reducing combustible tobacco use rates and moving closer to the 2030 global goal of less than 5% of the population using combustible tobacco.
“CAPHRA is also highlighting the disconnect between the UN's policies on the Right to Health and the WHO FCTC's stance on harm reduction with the WHO FCTC shifting its focus to nicotine, including safer products that millions of adults have used to quit smoking.
“We believe that the FCTC should prioritise science-based, inclusive policymaking based on the best available evidence and ensure that all stakeholders are included in the decision-making process. By incorporating harm reduction strategies and focusing on reducing smoking prevalence, the WHO FCTC can make progress towards its goal of reducing the global burden of tobacco-related diseases and deaths,” Ms Loucas concluded.
The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Advocates is a regional alliance of consumer tobacco harm reduction advocacy organisations. Its mission is to educate, advocate and represent the right of adult alternative nicotine consumers to access and use of products that reduce harm from tobacco use.
CAPHRA says it remains committed to advocating for the rights of consumers in the Asia-Pacific region to access and use evidence-based, regulated, and properly marketed harm reduction products as a means of reducing the devastating impact of smoking-related diseases.
“We encourage further research, open dialogue, and collaboration with governments, health organisations, and stakeholders to ensure the best possible outcomes for public health.”
- Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates - https://caphraorg.net/
- Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction Briefing Paper - https://gsthr.org/briefing-papers/the-fctc-cop10-agenda-and-supporting-documents-implications-for-the-future-of-tobacco-harm-reduction/
- Western Pacific Declaration - https://www.asiaharmreductionforum.online/#wpd
- ‘Drug Policies and Responses: A Right to Health Framework on Harm Reduction - https://www.ohchr.org/en/calls-for-input/2023/drug-policies-and-responses-right-health-framework-harm-reduction