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Conference Bans Harm Reduction Advocates

The Asia Pacific Association for Control of Tobacco conference has taken the step to ban any tobacco harm reduction advocate or vape consumer who has previously spoken at other select events

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The Asia Pacific Association for Control of Tobacco (APACT) conference has taken the step to ban any tobacco harm reduction advocate or vape consumer who has previously spoken at either the Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) or the Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum (GTNF). The ridiculous situation will come as bad news for Mitch Zeller, Director of the US Food and Drug Administration’s Tobacco Products Center, as he spoke at GTFN in 2020 (1).

The APACT ban isn’t the first-time advocates or consumers have been singled out for exclusion. In 2018, consumers were ejected from viewing the proceedings at the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework for Tobacco Control (FCTC) Conference of Parties (COP8).

Tobacco giants are adopting new ways and ‘disguises’ to push their products,” stated a summary of COP9 published on the United Nations website. The products, it said, are “noxious both for people and the environment, and interfere with government efforts to regulate the sale and use of tobacco.”

The article painted vape advocates as extensions of the tobacco industry and called the harm reduction volunteers “vicious”.

Consumers Discuss COP8

Justifying its move, APACT says the Asia Pacific region has the highest number of tobacco consumption globally and, consequently, has become a “prime target for transnational tobacco industries on expanding business.”

APACT aims to “bring together the region’s high-level delegates and key stakeholders to co-create holistic solutions, to facilitate partnerships, and to share best practices to the global tobacco control challenge towards ending the tobacco epidemic” - holistic solutions and partnerships that don’t include the vaping end consumers.

The events registration page states: “The Thai government and Thai tobacco control community have taken a clear position the e-cigarettes are unacceptable and banned in Thailand. Furthermore, more than 40 other countries including four ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Singapore) already ban e-cigarettes, recognising that these are harmful products without any evidence of long-term safety or population-level benefit for tobacco cessation. Other countries in the Asia Pacific region, such as Australia, India, Timor Leste, and Nepal, also ban e-cigarettes, and lawmakers in Hong Kong and the Philippines are also considering a ban.”

The last point is a complete lie, the Philippines is moving in the opposite direction after Bloomberg-funded organisations were found to be trying to bribe officials to implement bans. (2)

APACT continue: “Hence the APACT organisers reject abstract or registration from any person who has been a speaker at the Global Forum on Nicotine and the Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum etc.”

They can try their best to silence us but they can’t ignore the evidence forever as the Philippines demonstrates.


  1. GTFN 2020: Sustainability and Innovation are crucially for the future of Tobacco Harm Reduction -
  2. Historic Pinoy Victory For Vaping -
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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