Experts call for global access to safer nicotine to reduce fatal tobacco-related harms


To date, the world has lost approximately 3.8 million people with COVID-19; a devastating figure which is, unfortunately, less than half of the annual number of deaths from smoking. Every day, 1.1 billion smokers still light up around the world, a number that has stagnated for more than 20 years despite decades of tobacco control efforts. Eighty percent of the world’s smokers live in LMICs, the least able to cope with the disease burden of smoking, and in higher income countries, smoking is a major cause of inequalities in smoking. health.

People smoke for nicotine, a relatively low-risk substance, but experience thousands of toxins released when tobacco is burned. Experts at World Nicotine Forum discuss an approach called tobacco harm reduction; adult smokers who cannot quit nicotine are encouraged to switch from combustible or hazardous oral products to safer nicotine products, including vapers (e-cigarettes), pasteurized snus, tobacco-free nicotine packets, and heated tobacco machines. Compared to continued smoking, all of them are significantly less harmful to health.

Speaking before the conference, GFN director teacher Gerry Stimson, professor emeritus at Imperial College London, said: “Up to 98 million consumers worldwide have already switched to safer nicotine products. England, health authorities are supporting vaping to quit smoking, and vapers are now the most popular cessation aid. Tobacco-related mortality in Sweden, where snus has almost replaced smoking, is the lowest in Europe. And in Japan, cigarette sales have fallen by a third since the arrival of heated tobacco products. Manufacturers must now ensure that safer alternatives are affordable for people in LMICs, not just consumers in high-income countries. “

Professor Stimson continued: “It is disturbing that international tobacco control leaders stubbornly pursue an irresponsible prohibitionist approach to tobacco and nicotine, while the WHO actively perpetuates misinformation about new nicotine products. . Public health will not be served nor lives saved by a war on nicotine, because doomed to failure like the war on drugs. WHO must refocus its efforts on helping 1.1 billion adult smokers to quit by any means available.

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SOURCE KAC Communications

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