Based in the US, CASAA (1) is a non-profit advocacy organization which raises awareness and protects the right of consumers to access a variety of effective, affordable and reduced-harm alternatives to smoking. CASAA represents consumers’ interests in various legislative, policy making and rule-making arenas.
CAPHRA (2) is a regional alliance of consumer tobacco harm reduction advocacy organizations. 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.
The database (3) already boasts nearly 14,000 testimonials and the site demonstrates growing anger from across the globe that evidence is being ignored and many people’s right to choose safer alternatives is being denied.
“This site will not only be a uniquely dedicated resource, but a powerful response to those who want to restrict access to vaping and other smoke-free products. The many inspiring life stories and compelling anecdotes clearly demonstrate that, in fact, consumers are the evidence,” says Nancy Loucas, Executive Coordinator of CAPHRA.
The purpose of the site is to collect and publicly post successful vape stories and testimonials from people who’ve switched from combustible and unsafe oral tobacco products to safer smoke-free alternatives to quit or reduce their smoking.
Organisers are calling on adults from around the world who have first-hand experience of using low-risk alternatives as proven methods for quitting or reducing smoking. The collection of testimonials includes the personal stories of people who have successfully used e-cigarettes, snus, and other smoke-free tobacco/nicotine products.
CASAA CEO Alex Clark says his organisation is honoured to combine their efforts with international allies who are working tirelessly to humanize the tobacco harm reduction movement.
“All too often the debate around safer nicotine products is framed as a conflict between corporate profits versus public health. This international collection of consumer testimonials challenges that false and antiquated narrative. It’s full of genuinely lived experiences of people who are improving their lives by switching away from combustion,” says Mr Clark.
While participants are free to write their own story, they’re encouraged to detail how long they smoked, what quit methods they tried before switching to a smoke-free alternative, how long it has been since they successfully switched, and what have been the quality of life changes they may have experienced.
Ms Loucas says the international database of consumer testimonials will be a wakeup call to the world’s politicians, public health officials, and anti-vape campaigners. Anyone trying to remove the right of adults to choose safer nicotine alternatives will have a real fight on their hands.
“We are adults. We have the right to make informed decisions for our health. We are the evidence that safer alternatives work, and we are not going to be silenced. This is an incredibly powerful new global advocacy initiative and CAPHRA is delighted to be working with CASAA to launch it to the world. Now please give us your personal stories,” says Nancy Loucas.
Those who’ve made the switch are also encouraged to sign the Right2Switch petition at change.org/v4v-petition. It urges the WHO to respect consumer rights and to stop demonising Tobacco Harm Reduction options ahead of the next biennial meeting of the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in November.