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Governments Need To Recognise Potential

Governments need to recognise the potential of harm reduction and the importance of consumer choice, was the key message at the Asia Harm Reduction Forum

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A key message to Governments from the Asia Harm Reduction Forum (AHRF) 2023 is that governments worldwide need to acknowledge the transformative potential of harm reduction practices and the critical role of consumer choice in tobacco harm reduction.

It’s fair to say that the attendees and supporters attending the Asia Harm Reduction Forum are demanding complete transparency of the process and accountability of the proceedings at the upcoming World Health Organisations Framework Convention on Tobacco Control meetings in Panama – currently harm reduction isn’t even being mentioned,” said Nancy Loucas, a public health policy expert and passionate advocate for tobacco harm reduction and executive coordinator of the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA).

Harm reduction aims to mitigate the negative effects of harmful habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption, which take a significant toll on individuals, communities, and the environment, making it essential to find ways to enjoy these activities without compromising one's well-being.”

The AHRF, a non-profit and interdisciplinary organisation, advances public health education for the improvement of lives and environments across the globe. It serves as an international avenue for experts, academics, and advocates to share and exchange research findings, product developments, and pragmatic solutions on tobacco harm reduction.

Tobacco harm reduction is central to the delivery of a smoke-free future”, said Ms Loucas, who added, “existing efforts to discourage people from smoking and encouraging those who do to quit must continue. But supplementing these measures with a tobacco harm reduction approach can accelerate a decline in smoking.

If better alternatives to smoking are also made available, and enough smokers switch to them, we can more rapidly achieve a significant milestone in global health—a world without cigarettes.”

Governments worldwide are urged to recognise the potential of harm reduction and the importance of consumer choice in tobacco harm reduction. By adhering to these principles and ceasing the dissemination of disinformation and biased opinions, governments can enhance their effectiveness in promoting global public health and addressing the complex challenges associated with tobacco use and harm reduction.

The Asia Harm Reduction Forum is leading the way in promoting harm reduction practices. It is time for governments to follow suit and take decisive action to support these life-saving initiatives” Ms Loucas concluded.

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.

CAPHRA 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.

The organisation states: “We encourage further research, open dialogue, and collaboration with governments, health organisations, and stakeholders to ensure the best possible outcomes for public health.” 


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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