Asia Harm Reduction Forum 2023:

Posted 16th October 2023 by Dave Cross
 Asia Harm Reduction Forum 2023: lead image
The Asia Harm Reduction Forum (AHRF) will take place 19 October 2023 at The Manila Hotel in the Philippines. As a non-profit and interdisciplinary organisation, AHRF is dedicated to advancing public health education for the improvement of lives and environments across the globe.

This year's forum will focus on The Western Pacific Declaration and the importance of consumer choice in tobacco harm reduction”, said Nancy Loucas, a public health policy expert and passionate advocate for tobacco harm reduction and executive coordinator of CAPHRA.

There is an urgent need for complete transparency and inclusion of consumers in the process at every level,” said Ms Loucas.

Clarisse Virgino, the Philippine representative of CAPHRA, added: “Despite numerous attempts by consumer groups like the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) to engage with World Health Organisation (WHO) delegations, there has been a lack of response, this is why the Asia Harm Reduction Forum 2023 is so important”.

The WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) has been extensively criticised for excluding certain parties, such as consumer advocacy groups and independent researchers, which prompted Ms Loucas to ask, “what are they afraid of?”

AHRF 2023 aims to bring attention to this issue and emphasise the need for consumers to be at the heart of the debate on harm reduction.

CAPHRA believes unsafe oral and combustible tobacco addiction is a significant public health concern, and consumers should have the right to choose the most effective methods for them to quit smoking. Governments should not impose bans but instead provide necessary regulations to ensure the safety and efficacy of harm reduction strategies. 

The AHRF 2023 event will feature cutting-edge research and studies on tobacco harm reduction, offering attendees a unique platform to cultivate global connections in advancing this vital advocacy. By providing accessible information to the public, AHRF aims to empower individuals to lead healthier lives in a safer environment.

The organisers say: “We encourage journalists and media professionals to attend the event and help raise awareness about the importance of consumer choice and the Western Pacific Declaration in the fight against tobacco addiction.”

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, salad destroyer and live culture convert.