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People smoke to obtain nicotine, a comparatively low risk substance, but are harmed by thousands of toxins released when tobacco burns. Experts at the Global Forum on Nicotine will discuss an approach called tobacco harm reduction; people who cannot quit nicotine are encouraged to switch from dangerous combustible or oral products to safer nicotine products including vapes (e-cigarettes), pasteurized snus, non-tobacco nicotine pouches and heated tobacco products. Compared to continued smoking, all are significantly less harmful to health. Despite an estimated 98 million adult smokers having already switched to safer nicotine products worldwide, public health and tobacco control remains deeply divided on the role of tobacco harm reduction. The Global Forum on Nicotine gives (...)

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Since the global outbreak of Covid-19, we have heard a great deal from politicians about “following the science” – a sound principle those same politicians often seem to have trouble sticking to (...) At the very beginning of the Covid scare, even before the term “lockdown” had entered common usage, there were reports from China that smokers were somehow at less risk from the new disease than others. It sounded counterintuitive. Smoking is well known to damage the respiratory system, so surely it would render a person more susceptible to a respiratory illness, not less?

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Since the start of the pandemic, the world has lost an estimated 3.75 million people to COVID-19; a devastating figure that remains under half the annual death toll from smoking. Every day, 1.1 billion smokers still light up around the world, a figure that has stalled for over 20 years despite decades of tobacco control efforts. Eighty per cent of the world’s smokers live in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), least able to cope with the disease burden of smoking, and in higher income countries, smoking is a major cause of health inequalities. People smoke to obtain nicotine, a comparatively low risk substance, but are harmed by thousands of toxins released when tobacco burns. Experts at the Global Forum on Nicotine (...)

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The study titled, Combustible and electronic cigarette exposures increase ace2 activity and SARS-CoV-2 spike binding, tested the hypothesis that the use of combustible tobacco and non-combustible nicotine products, could affect ACE2 activity and subsequent SARS-CoV-2 infection. The research team found that sACE2 activity was significantly higher in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from both smokers and vapers compared to non-smokers of the same age. Exposure to cigarette smoke led to increased (...)

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As we get closer to the UK’s stated ambition to be ‘smoke free’ by 2030 and subsequently the EU’s recently announced 2040 ‘Beating Cancer’ Plan, which includes the objective of a ‘tobacco free generation’, nicotine industry participants, governments and regulators need to reflect on the technology and policies that will help achieve these goals. GFN is also ahead of the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) COP 9 meeting in November which will give direction on the WHO’s influential global tobacco control policy recommendations for coming years. The WHO’s stance towards THR is regarded by (...)

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A recent study from the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) has suggested that banning the sale of flavoured vaping products can cause higher rates of cigarette smoking among teenagers. The findings come at an especially pertinent moment, given the intense discussion in Europe surrounding e-cigarettes and the possibility of banning flavours. The Netherlands, in particular, is planning to ban e-cigarette flavours, despite a strong public backlash – a decision which could cause far-reaching repercussions in the bloc and beyond.

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Asia Pacific’s leading Tobacco Harm Reduction consumer advocacy group has lashed out at the Australian Federal Government for making it increasingly harder for Australia’s 2.3 million daily smokers to quit cigarettes. “Australia is miles behind many others in the Asia Pacific region, and the UK, when it comes to acknowledging vaping’s key role in beating tobacco. Australia is sadly kowtowing to the World Health Organisation, rather than accepting compelling international evidence,” says Nancy Loucas, Coordinator for the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA). It is illegal to sell liquid nicotine in Australia. Its states and territories (...)

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Tobacco harm reduction is viewed by those who advocate for it, as a pragmatic approach to reducing the harm of smoking related disease and thus, saving millions of lives. Nevertheless, these products, marketed by the tobacco industry, fail to be globally credible as strong controversy around them has arisen. In fact, strong opponents to these alternatives argue that they are not a 100% reliable in fighting efficiently tobacco related diseases and accuse them of being interested in making profit. Influential philanthropic organizations, the World Health Organization and national regulators are among the tenacious adversaries of it. Jonathan Fell is a founder of Ash Park. He works on long-term (...)

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In Florida, the state legislature passed a bill banning e-cigarette flavors. The bill would have killed the state’s vape shops and denied smokers the most popular alternative to cigarettes. Gov. Ron DeSantis, however, listened to Florida vapers and public health experts and vetoed the bill. “While originally conceived as a bill to raise the legal age to buy tobacco to 21 (which is superfluous given this is already mandated by federal law), SB 810 effectively bans tobacco-free vaping flavors used by hundreds of thousands of Floridians as a reduced-risk alternative to cigarettes, which are more dangerous,” Gov. DeSantis said in his veto message.

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At a recent webinar organised by The Parliament Magazine and the World’s Vapers’ Alliance, EU policymakers and tobacco harm reduction experts came to together to debate the current issues surrounding vaping. Director of the consulting firm The Counterfactual, Clive Bates, highlighted several benefits of the growing popularity of vaping. First, there are physiological differences between those who smoked and those who used alternative products. “If you measure the levels of toxicants in the blood, the saliva and the urine, you’ll find much lower levels, similar to non-smokers or people who quit.” He also pointed out how e-cigarettes ‘displaced’ smoking and were more successful in helping people quit than therapy. He said, “People who use E-cigarettes have a higher quit rate, particularly if they were frequent users.”

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Two startling statistics emerge from a recent survey of smokers in Europe conducted by ETHRA (European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates): nearly one in three (31%) of current smokers would be interested in trying snus if it became legal, but less than 3% are actually snus users. Given the almost incontrovertible evidence from Sweden – the only EU country where snus is legal, for idiosyncratic historical reasons – of the oral format’s success in reducing tobacco-related disease, this huge potential demand seems to represent a huge public health opportunity. If snus became legal EU-wide, then even if only a relatively small fraction of that 31% gave up combustibles in its favour, that would represent (...)

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Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) took place June 16-18 in Liverpool. Multiple panel discussions took in subjects ranging from safer nicotine product regulation, tobacco harm reduction in low-to-middle-income countries and orthodoxy and dissent in science. Speakers’ pre-recorded presentations for the panel sessions will remain available online at the conference website. Three keynotes were delivered to honor Michael Russell, a psychiatrist, research scientist and pioneer in the study of tobacco dependence and the development of treatments to help smokers quit. Russell’s observation in the British Medical Journal in 1976 that “people smoke for nicotine, but they die from the tar” remains highly influential within the field.

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A recent Lancet study said smoking rates among 13-15-year-olds have remain unchanged in 40% of the surveyed countries between 1999 and 2018. However, these said “smoking rates” inaccurately include the use of safer alternatives such as smokeless tobacco products and e-cigarettes, which should not be considered as smoking. The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health journal study, found differing rates of tobacco use across 140 countries. Lead Study author Professor Bo Xi, said there are “still large numbers of young people smoking” despite the decreasing smoking rates in the majority of countries. However to the shock of tobacco harm reduction experts, among these alleged high numbers of smokers, the Professor inaccurately included users of (...)

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The federal government today proposed new regulations banning flavoured vaping products that will, if enacted, diminish the effectiveness of vaping as a reduced risk product compared to cigarettes. "If the government's goal is to ensure that smokers keep smoking, then they couldn't have proposed a better set of regulations", said Allan Rewak, VITA Executive Director. "All these regulations will do is create more barriers for long time heavy smokers while doing little to nothing to address the problem the federal government claims they want to solve, youth vaping", added Rewak. Recent evidence has demonstrated that in jurisdictions such as San Francisco, which implemented a flavour ban in 2018 in an effort to restrict youth vaping, failed totally in its objectives and instead resulted in a doubling of youth smoking rates after years of steady reductions.

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At the Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN), hosted in Liverpool, experts called for the public health and tobacco control fields to unite around a common goal: ending smoking. Over the two days, 30 speakers—eminent in harm reduction, law, science, the stock market, consumer advocacy and other areas—reiterated to hundreds of international delegates that lifesaving technology like vapes and heat-not-burn products (HTPs) should be embraced to empower people to stop their combustible cigarette use. A hesitant sense of optimism pervaded the conference, as tobacco harm reductionists acknowledged that (...)

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A live panel discussion of vaping advocates and experts discussed a number of inaccuracies that have been recently mentioned in the media. The 2020 US Vape Store Survey has revealed that sensationalist and misleading media reports is what has caused most of the damage to the vape industry in 2020, rather than the coronavirus pandemic, as commonly assumed. “At a time when accuracy in reporting is under the national spotlight, this is a vivid illustration of the real damage that can be caused by irresponsible journalism,” said ECigIntelligence editorial director Barnaby Page. “The EVALI outbreak was shown to be caused by vaping of contaminated street cannabis products – nothing to do with the nicotine products that legitimate vape stores sell – but nevertheless these small businesses suffered heavily as a result of the linkage made in sensational reporting.”

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We are in the middle of another battle in access to harm reduction products. But, unlike drivers and passengers wearing seat belts, cigarette smokers are met with adversity, hostility and outright prohibitions by federal agencies and lawmakers. E-cigarettes, the most popular form of tobacco harm reduction, have helped millions of American adults quit smoking. Numerous studies have shown that e-cigarettes are up to 95 percent less harmful than combustible cigarettes. Yet, despite this, there are national campaigns to stop the use of e-cigarettes and four states have banned the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.

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Nguyen and colleagues set out to investigate the relationship between passive smoking and the risk of developing RA in a large prospective cohort of healthy French women. These results suggest that smoking by-products - whether actively or passively inhaled - could generate autoimmunity, at least towards antigens involved in RA pathogenesis. In a poster examining another link between the lungs and inflammatory arthritis (...)

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According to a new study from the UBC Sauder School of Business, they can all help people quit—but how much they help, and who pays the price, varies significantly. The researchers also found that tax hikes can disproportionately favour bigger brands, while tightened restrictions can hurt them. For the study, titled (...)

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The World Health Organisation’s decision last month to give a special award to India for banning the sale of e-cigarettes was proof that the agency has no intention of taking an ethical and evidence-based approach to tobacco harm reduction. This puts it squarely at odds with countries such as the UK and New Zealand which have successfully embraced vaping as part of their tobacco control strategy. The WHO has never pursued harm reduction policies in relation to smoking and in recent years has increasingly worked to stamp out e-cigarettes and (...)