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Farsalinos In Pinoy Plea

Doctor Konstantinos Farsalinos pleads to Philippines legislators to take the sensible approach.

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Doctor Konstantinos Farsalinos is a research fellow at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre and University of Patras in Greece. He is very well known to long-term vapers for having been an outspoken supporter of harm reduction, his research work and his love of vaping. He recently made a plea to law makers in the Philippines to take the pragmatic route and factor in the value of harm reduction.

Farsalinos said: “Smoking is an epidemic worldwide. We have over 1.1 billion smokers in the world, or about 23 percent of the adult population. The World Health Organization predicts that within the 21st Century alone, we are going to have 1 billion premature deaths due to smoking. In the Philippines, the smoking prevalence is about 20 percent. Of these 20 million smokers, 10 million of them are going to die prematurely by smoking-related diseases. The average life expectancy of a smoker is 10 years less than a non-smoker. It is a huge cost in lives and in economy.”

“People smoke for nicotine but die from the tar. Tar is produced by the burning of the dried tobacco leaf. The burning produces many toxins that are subsequently inhaled by the smoker.”

Farsalinos knows his vape history: “Here in the Philippines and Malaysia, they created the industry by themselves, the local people, they are not imported products, they are products made locally. Many entrepreneurs got engaged into that, and that’s how it grew here.”

Despite being the home to many of the original mechanical vape mods that helped vaping become the phenomena it now is, the Philippines has become quite vape-unfriendly. Pinoy politicians bought into the World Health Organisation line on ecigs, so Farsalinos points out that when it comes to vape laws, “It must be different from regulation of tobacco cigarettes; otherwise, people may be deceived into thinking that e-cigarettes are the same as tobacco cigarettes.”

At a tobacco control conference in 2016, the Philippines Civil Service Commission chairperson Alicia Dela Rosa-Bala called for a total ban on vaping products. A spokesperson for Vapers Philippines said: “According to fellow vapers in Europe, Bala as head of the Philippine delegation, supported a proposal that would allow an outright ban of e-cigarettes without prior consultation with the Philippine vaping community.”

Farsalinos now has his name to over 50 scientific studies looking at aspects of vaping, when he makes statements they ought to carry a lot of weight. “Ecigarettes help smokers quit,” he added. “6.1 million Europeans quit smoking and another 9.2 million reduced consumption of cigarettes after they had tried ecigarettes. This means that 67.3% of Europeans who had tried ecigarettes either quit or reduced smoking.”

The doctor knows all about the efficacy of quitting using vape products: “After I did my first study on e-cigarettes, at that time I was still a smoker and seeing the results, I decided to try it: I managed to quit on day one. I kept a pack of cigarettes at home for one week, but after a week I threw it away together. I am now smoke-free for five years and one month, I never feel the need to get a cigarette.”

Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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