Author: Joseph Magero of Campaign for Safer Alternatives
The call was made by public health experts gathered at the ninth edition of the Global Forum on Nicotine, held in Warsaw this month.
The Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) is an annual event that has been held since 2014 in the form of an international conference focusing on the future of nicotine products, their legal regulations and the impact of these products on public health. Hosting hundreds of public health experts, nicotine consumers and activists from across the world, the event’s theme was ‘tobacco harm reduction is here for good’.
The forum’s theme explained that tobacco harm reduction through safer nicotine products can hasten the end of smoking, and calls for government stakeholders to explore the science behind this approach. Policy and regulatory changes are needed in order to maximize its potential and the barriers to its implementation around the world.
Countries applying progressive tobacco harm reduction policies are witnessing a significant fall in smoking rates. Whereas those following the World Health Organization’s (MPOWER) guidance continue to experience excessive smoking-related illnesses and deaths.
A new study (conducted by Dr. Lars M. Ramström) launched at the forum shows implementation of the World Health Organization’s tobacco control measures known as MPOWER has no clear association with low-levels of tobacco-related mortality.
Instead, the independent research by the renowned tobacco dependence researcher, shows that switching from smoking to Swedish-style snus, a safer nicotine product, is a more effective strategy to reduce the harms caused by tobacco.
Presented to hundreds of delegates, as well as over 50 international experts on tobacco and nicotine science, the new findings by Dr. Lars Ramström provide further evidence that the World Health Organization must embrace tobacco harm reduction as part of its global tobacco control strategy by supporting the use of safer nicotine alternatives to quit smoking.