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Take Note of the Numbers

New Zealand needs to take note of the global popularity of vaping, says The Coalition of Asia Pacific Harm Reduction Advocates

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Yesterday’s Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction research paper highlighted a global 20% increase in the number of vapers to 82 million people. This demonstrates a growing public interest in less harmful alternatives to traditional tobacco products, says The Coalition of Asia Pacific Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA).

The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Advocates (CAPHRA) 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.

The organisation 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.”

Nancy Loucas a prominent New Zealand public health consumer advocate and executive coordinator of CAPHRA, said: “Despite this promising trend in adopting safer nicotine alternatives reducing the severe health risks associated with combustible tobacco use, vapes are still banned in 36 countries and a further 84 countries have no regulatory or legislation around these products.

“With millions of smokers who want to switch to much safer vaping yet still cannot do so, several countries, particularly within the Asia Pacific region, continue to face the burden of harm caused by combustible and unsafe oral tobacco products.”

There is growing concern about why the World Health Organisation (WHO) remains opposed to using safer nicotine products for smoking cessation, despite supporting harm reduction in other areas of public health such as substance use and HIV/AIDS prevention.

New Zealand officials will be attending the upcoming COP10 meeting by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in Panama later this year, which is a crucial event for discussing risk-proportionate regulations that could save more lives.

It is of utmost importance that the decisions made around Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) involve those who are most affected by the policies put into place in signatory countries, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs),” added Loucas.

With 84 million vapers around the world, CAPHRA joins multiple consumer organisations globally to actively campaign for a consumer advocacy to be part of country delegations at the FCTC COP10; however, these efforts have been met with deafening silence which raises the question what are the officials so worried about.

The lack of response highlights an urgent need for an inclusive and transparent decision-making process involving relevant stakeholders – something the New Zealand officials could lead and champion.

By implementing risk-proportionate regulations and considering the rapid growth in the vaping community, countless lives could be saved from the harmful effects of traditional tobacco products,” Loucas concluded.


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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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