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Is COP9 failing? | RegWatch at GSTHR in London, 2021. Interview with Gerry Stimson, Director at Knowledge-Action-Change (KAC), Emeritus Professor at Imperial College London.

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This post examines how WHO and related institutions aggressively promote the prohibition of much safer alternatives to cigarettes, such as vaping and heated tobacco products. The effect, if not the intent, is to protect the cigarette trade from competition, to promote black markets, to stimulate harmful workarounds, to nurture criminal networks, to harm young people, and to prolong the epidemic of avoidable smoking-related disease.  It’s a reckless policy, built on misplaced righteousness, defended by bureaucratic inertia, sustained by group-think, and cultivated by elitist billionaire foundation money. [...]

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Globally, over 1.3 billion people engage in cigarette smoking. From this figure, Nigeria accounts for 14 per cent of adult smokers, a development that has heightened serious concern about the growing addiction in the country.
  
According to reports, the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than eight million people yearly globally. More than seven million of these deaths are the result of direct tobacco use, while about 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoking.

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We are elected representatives of students globally as volunteer functionaries of non-profit organizations and initiatives involving recent graduates or students from faculties of health sciences spanning Low-and Middle-Income Countries (LMIC) around the world. [...]
Many of us are focused on human rights-based approaches to ameliorating pressing health issues where health needs are expensive and/or technically advanced treatments aren’t financially possible or accepted enough to be focal areas for our Governments. Wherefore, what remains is quit or die approaches and harm reduction in one form or the other.

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COP9 threats and challenges | RegWatch at GSTHR in London, 2021. Interview with Derek Yach, Global Leader in Tobacco Control Policy.

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COP9: Tricks are being missed | RegWatch at GSTHR in London, 2021. Interview with David Mackintosh, Advisor on Substance Use Policy, Knowledge-Action-Change (KAC)

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The proposed licensing of e-cigarettes is part of a “harm reduction” approach to smoking which is not supported by our medical colleagues in Europe or the US (Regulator paves way for NHS e-cigarette prescriptions in England, 29 October). It threatens to perpetuate the inhaling habit, and to prolong nicotine addiction into another generation. This is the holy grail of a tobacco industry that has systematically defrauded the public for decades in marketing its deadly products, and is now busily purchasing e-cigarette manufacturers, funding cannabis development [...]

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The British Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, citing the United Kingdom’s Parliamentary report, urged the government to consider UK’s science-based approach in dealing with the smoking problem as the World Health Organization holds a global conference on tobacco control this week. [...] The UK is at the forefront of advocating non-combustible alternatives to cigarettes and has successfully integrated vaping into its public health policies on tobacco harm reduction. The APPG report said, “the UK has a clearly stated position that vaping is 95-percent safer than combustible tobacco.”

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Removing e-cigarettes from sale could have negative consequences for people trying to quit smoking, the Oireachtas Health Committee has heard.

More than one-third of smokers who try to quit using cigarettes opt for e-cigarettes, according to a member of the Department of Health's Tobacco & Alcohol Control unit.

The comment was made as part of a discussion on the new Public Health (Tobacco and Nicotine Inhaling Products) Bill, which proposes new retail licensing laws. The legislation will prohibit the sale of tobacco products from temporary premises, and it will also ban the sale of tobacco or nicotine inhaling products by people under 18. [...]

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Every two years, the World Health Organization (WHO) publishes its Model List of Essential Medicines (EML), a collection of medicines considered essential by WHO experts. The purpose of the list is to guide national authorities on the type of medicines that should be available in the country.

On 1 October 2021, the WHO announced the updated the Model List. Prior to this update, only nicotine replacement therapy was listed as an essential medicine for people who wish to stop using tobacco. Nicotine replacement therapy works by supplying nicotine in an alternative form, such as chewing gum or patches for a limited period, [...]

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There’s an ongoing theory about the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) within the vaping community: The agency did not anticipate the onslaught of 6 million-plus premarket tobacco product applications (PMTAs) it received by a September 2020 deadline, and had to devise some way to try to sort through them all by the following year. It would be no easy feat, but the bar for authorization would be set incredibly high—and that, in the FDA’s view, would help.

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The World Health Organization's failure to declare a global emergency in 2020 will be repeated in 2021 when the WHO will likely abandon international tobacco harm reduction efforts and condemn millions of smokers to an early death," says Nancy Loucas, a leading consumer advocate.

“The WHO got it totally wrong on Covid-19, and it’s no surprise they’ve also got it very wrong with safer nicotine products such as vaping," she says.

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This year, the first two weeks of November will witness two COPs (Conference of Parties), large policy gatherings aimed at moving the needle on ratified global U.N.-related conventions. Both have to do with health—individual, population and the planet’s health. Yet, one COP is attracting the leaders of the developed world as well as developing worlds in Glasgow, United Kingdom, along with another 20,000-odd stakeholders. The other COP will be held virtually and quietly from its secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland.

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The Taipei City Government on Wednesday became the nation’s first local government to pass a jurisdiction-wide ban on e-cigarettes via a self-government ordinance.

If the Executive Yuan ratifies the measure, the city would impose a broad-ranging prohibition on the sale, advertisement, display and commercial transportation of novel tobacco products, including vaping devices and heated tobacco units.

Additionally, vaping and using heated tobacco products is to be banned in a 50m zone around schools.

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The Food and Drug Administration is facing backlash from anti-vaping members of Congress and other public-health campaigners for officially authorizing an e-cigarette as “appropriate for the protection of public health.”

The FDA’s decision to approve the Vuse Solo e-cigarette last month is a historic one: It marks the first time that America’s leading public-health agency officially recognized the potential of e-cigarettes to help smokers quit. “The manufacturer’s data demonstrates its tobacco-flavored products could benefit addicted adult smokers who switch to these products — either completely or with a significant reduction in cigarette consumption,” [...]

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Developed within the World Health Organisation 15 years ago, the FCTC is a consensus-based agreement that affirms everyone’s right to have the best possible health. A response to the globalization of the tobacco epidemic led to the development of the treaty. Additionally, it looked at complex factors such as foreign direct investment (FDI), liberalization, and trans-border trade.

The WHO continues to deny the effectiveness of low-risk nicotine delivery products as a way to fight to smoke worldwide, despite harm reduction also being one of the major focuses of the treaty. [...]

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Cigarette makers British American Tobacco (BAT) have lauded the policies in Budget 2022, particularly the government’s intention to tax and effectively recognise nicotine vapour, or vapes.


BAT managing director Nedal Salem commended the introduction of the excise duty for vape products containing nicotine, saying it was a right move towards tobacco harm reduction in Malaysia.

“Regulation will not only allow vape users access to reduced-risk alternatives to smoking, but also ensure the products used are compliant to quality and safety standards,” Salem wrote in a statement [...]

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United Kingdom (UK)-based sociologist and an avid advocate of tobacco harm reduction, Gerry Stimson, has advised African countries whose economies heavily depend on tobacco production to quickly diversify away from the indurstry. Stimson gave the caution on Wednesday in response to a question from journalists who sought his opinion on African countries whose economies have, for decades, heavily relied on tobacco production. [...] Stimson warned tobacco-dependent countries that any delays in moving away from the 'green gold' would have disastrous effects on their economies in no distant future from now.

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More Canadian and U.S. teenagers than ever before are turning to vaping cannabis instead of smoking the drug.

Cannabis vaping by teens doubled between 2013 and 2020 despite the unknown long-term effects — or risk — of using the electronic devices to get high, according to a report by the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics.

JAMA Pediatrics researchers, after analyzing 17 studies involving almost 200,000 teens in Canada and the U.S., discovered the drastic uptick of the percentage of teens using vaping devices, according to the news website NPR.