Country for PR: United Kingdom
Contributor: PR Newswire Europe
Wednesday, October 27 2021 - 18:11
GSTHR: "Moral imperative" for WHO to Adopt Harm Reduction for Tobacco
LONDON, Oct. 27, 2021 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

While global leaders and media focus on UN COP26 [ ], the 
climate summit starting this Sunday, 182 government delegations are preparing 
for another COP meeting. Yet the ninth session of the COP [ 
 ] (COP9) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) from 8 - 13 
November has received little attention and will be conducted in secretive 
closed sessions. 
Fighting The Last War: The WHO and International Tobacco Control [ ], the 
latest report from UK health agency KAC [ ]'s Global State 
of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR) [ ] reveals that current 
implementation of the FCTC, which aims to reduce smoking-related death and 
disease, is a global public health failure. Enacted in 2005 when there were 1.1 
billion smokers worldwide, today there remain 1.1 billion smokers, and eight 
million smoking-related deaths each year. 

Harm reduction offers new hope. Vaping devices, snus, nicotine pouches and 
heated tobacco products are significantly safer than cigarettes, delivering 
nicotine without burning tobacco. This helps people who cannot or do not want 
to stop using nicotine to quit deadly smoking and switch. 

Parties to the FCTC including the UK and New Zealand have seen marked decreases 
in smoking after introducing harm reduction policies alongside domestic tobacco 
control regimes. GSTHR [ ] estimates suggest 98 million 
people worldwide already use safer nicotine products [ ]. Yet report author 
Harry Shapiro argues that the fight against smoking is "now being actively 
undermined by the WHO."

The WHO remains opposed to harm reduction for tobacco and international tobacco 
control is increasingly focused on banning safer products. Ideological 
opposition to tobacco harm reduction from influential philanthropic funders [ ] has distorted global 
policymaking - when harm reduction is actually named as a core element of 
tobacco control in the FCTC, and is key to the WHO's drugs and HIV/AIDS 

"At COP9, government delegations must prevent the slide into outright nicotine 
prohibition," said Professor Gerry Stimson of KAC. "This would see a return to 
smoking for many people and many millions more never able to quit successfully. 
The age of combustion - for tobacco and for fossil fuels - has to end."

Launched at a free online event today [ ] with 
international tobacco and drug policy experts and consumer advocates, the 
report [ ] 
argues that Parties to the FCTC must seize back control of FCTC COP meetings 
and demand evidence-based discussions on safer nicotine products and tobacco 
harm reduction. Funding for the GSTHR project was provided by a grant from the 
Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.

Infographic - 

Source: Knowledge Action Change (KAC)