Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction 2018

Posted 24th October 2018 by Dave Cross
Knowledge Action Change, a company dedicated to the promotion of harm reduction, has produced “The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction” report. The work was funded by the Foundation for a Smoke Free World. The intentions are to publish an updated report every two years and to regularly post to the website.

The full report runs to 128 pages and is the first time the global, regional and national availability and use of safer nicotine products, the regulatory responses to these products, and the public health potential of tobacco harm reduction have all been mapped.

This report follows closely on the heels of last week’s comprehensive Smoke Free World report on the global nicotine ecosystem. It includes a wealth of information and, for those with a sense of fun, the first Vaping Timeline.

The information was collated and analysed “from several national and international academic, business intelligence, regulatory and public data sources with sections informed and validated by key informants.”

The report relied on the contributions of many people, some well known to vapers – other not so much until now. Recognisable names from the UK includes Clive Bates, Judy Gibson, Sarah Jakes, and Martin Jarvis. Other names who frequently crop up in Planet of the Vapes news stories include Riccardo Polosa, David Sweanor, Roberto Sussman, Jacques Le Houezec, Colin Mendelsohn, Marewa Glover, David Abrams, and the omnipresent Konstantinos Farsalinos.

The Electronic Cigarette Company

The executive summary begins with a powerful statement: “Existing forms of tobacco control are proving insufficient. While many people give up smoking, on their own or with medicinal products, many fail. ‘Quit or die’ is no longer the only option for those who cannot give up. Safer nicotine products offer another way. There is substantial international, independent evidence that these products are demonstrably safer than cigarettes. These potential lifesaving products could lead to a global revolution in public health.”

David Sweanor talks about the exciting role vaping has to play in reducing tobacco-related harm in his foreword: “Our world has over a billion people smoking cigarettes, spending roughly US$800 billion annually. Add in all those smoking other tobacco products (bidis, kreteks, etc.) and we face a seemingly unbeatable adversary as we seek to tackle the myriad diseases caused from the inhalation of smoke. But look more creatively, and we are facing not an insurmountable challenge so much as a tremendous opportunity.”

Martin Jarvis states: “There is an urgent need for evidence and for informed discussion. This report forms a valuable contribution to that process.”

The introduction details how harm reduction began as a concept in the 1920s with the prescription of morphine or heroin to those in illegal possession of opiates in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Vape Club

“Our everyday lives are replete with examples of potentially dangerous products or behaviours being modified – often by manufacturers, regulators or consumers – to enable use of the product while reducing risk of harm.”

“Harm reduction is more than just health and safety, more than just the equivalent of wearing seats belts or crash helmets. It sits at the intersection of public health and human rights as expressed in the WHO Ottawa Charter on Health Promotion, which states that ‘People cannot achieve their fullest health potential unless they are able to take control of those things which determine their health’.”

The full report begs to be read by those interested in vaping and harm reduction. It can be download for free from: The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction website here.


 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, motorbikes, and dog walker
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