Philippines will benefit from regulation of less harmful cigarette options, experts say – Manila Bulletin

Public health in the Philippines will greatly benefit from the enactment of the vaping bill that regulates alternatives to cigarettes, as scientific studies show that vaping is at least 25 times less harmful than traditional tobacco products, according to international experts .

“My research almost 10 years ago showed that vaping was at least 25 times less harmful than cigarette smoking and many subsequent studies have confirmed this risk ratio. The Philippines would surely benefit similarly if vaping were encouraged compared to cigarettes as is the case in the UK and New Zealand,” said Professor David Nutt of Imperial College London.

Several academic experts and researchers, including Professor Nutt, Professor David Sweanor from the University of Ottawa, Professor Peter Hajek from Queen Mary University of London, and Dr. Tom Glynn from the University School of Medicine from Stanford, have expressed support for the regulation of vaping and heated tobacco products (HTPs) as safer alternatives to cigarettes.

They refer to the approval by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the bill to regulate vaporized nicotine products. The bill, which aims to regulate e-cigarettes (ECs) or vapes, HTPs and other non-combustion products considered less harmful than traditional cigarettes, is expected to be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Professor Nutt, who teaches neuropsychopharmacology and is director of the Center for Psychedelics Research at Imperial College London, said concerns that young people who take up vaping would be pressured into smoking cigarettes were not unfounded.

“Fear that vaping is driving young people to smoke cigarettes has been proven unfounded by US data that reveals the most dramatic declines in youth smoking ever recorded because they are using vaping instead,” a- he declared.

Professor Nutt said clinical studies show that cigarette smokers who switch to vaping eventually see better health.

Professor David Sweanor, chair of the advisory committee of the Center for Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Ottawa, said the vaping bill could spark a life-saving public health revolution. many Filipino smokers. “President Duterte can embolden entrepreneurs and empower consumers to spark a public health revolution by signing the vaping law into law,” he said.

He cited examples from around the world showing that non-combustion products such as e-cigarettes and HTPs can replace lethal cigarettes. “This is hugely important because it has been known for decades that the horrific human toll of smoking is due to smoke inhalation rather than nicotine,” he said.

“We can use substitution for those who would otherwise smoke cigarettes, and thus replicate what has dramatically reduced the risks of so many other goods, services and activities. The most toxic consumer product on the market should not be shielded from innovative alternatives, but rather driven out of the market by that innovation,” he said.

For his part, Professor Hajek, whose research has appeared in more than 300 publications and contributed to global anti-tobacco policies, said e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products represent only a small fraction of the risks. related to smoking and have the potential to make smoking obsolete. , which would have a profound beneficial impact on public health.

“Regulators sometimes push to ban EC and HTP on the grounds that these products entice children to smoke. The argument is false. These products, in fact, are turning young nicotine seekers away from smoking,” said Professor Hajek, director of the Health and Lifestyle Research Unit at the Wolfson Institute of Population Health at Queen Mary University of London.

He said vapes have been shown to help smokers quit in clinical trials when provided proactively. “Demographics suggest they are also helping smokers who purchase them as a consumer product. The increase in the use of reduced-risk nicotine products and their sales has been accompanied by a decrease smoking prevalence and cigarette sales Triangulated evidence suggests that EC helps smokers quit and has the potential to replace cigarettes at the population level,” said Professor Hajek.

Professor Hajek said smoking causes cancer, cardiovascular disease and lung disease. “Replacing smoking with the use of EC and HTP would significantly reduce smoking-related suffering and death. Good regulation encourages smokers to switch to these products. Regulations that make them less attractive to smokers are contrary to ethics and damage public health,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Glynn noted the astonishing progress in reducing deaths and illnesses caused by smoking in recent years, made possible by the joint efforts of scientists, public health experts and other groups. .

“In the United States, for example, the percentage of smokers in the population has fallen from over 40% in the early 1960s to around 14% today, representing millions of lives saved from the ravages of cigarette smoking. Driven by the collaborative efforts of clinicians, scientists, public health experts, policy and policy advocates, and advocacy organizations, the extent of progress and long-term trends of declining prevalence of smoking have made the disappearance of smoking almost inevitable,” he said. .

Dr Glynn said this progress in reducing smoking was in danger of stalling, amid the divisive and shameful conflict that is moving away from science. “Good science has given us the clinical, policy and advocacy tools to end smoking. We must now end the conflict in the global tobacco control community and use these tools to move tobacco to the endgame and thus put the finishing touches to one of the greatest public health achievements of the last century, if not the bigger,” said Dr. Glynn, associate professor at Stanford University’s Center for Prevention Research.

The World Health Organization has estimated that 17 million Filipinos continue to smoke cigarettes. About 100,000 smokers in the Philippines die each year from smoking-related diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and lung disease.

Amid this worrying scenario, many Filipinos believe the government should enact policies to encourage adult smokers to switch to less harmful tobacco alternatives, according to a survey conducted last year by ACORN Marketing & Research Consultants, the most large independent Asian research network.

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