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Call for research-based interventions for regulating emerging tobacco products

Alternative Research Initiative (ARI)ISLAMABAD: Alternative Research Initiative (ARI) has called upon the government to take a research-based approach to sensibly regulate the tobacco harm reduction products in Pakistan, as any knee reaction would lead to more damage to the cause of tobacco use.

"World is exploring evidence-based interventions to address the issue of tobacco use," said Arshad Ali Syed, head of ARI. He was commenting on a demand by tobacco control activists on legislation for regulating emerging products. He added that any legislative intervention on regulating THR products should be in the light of research in the countries such as UK, Sweden, and Japan.

With nearly 29 million tobacco users, Pakistan is considered one of the top 15 countries with a heavy burden of diseases because of combustible smoking. The total cost of all smoking attributable to diseases and deaths in Pakistan was 3.85 billion dollars in 2019.

Underlining the need to rely on independent data and research, he called for open dialogue on any new legal and administrative interventions in order to create a consensus. "We believe everyone, including parliamentarians, policymakers, civil society, researchers, journalists, tobacco industry and smokers, should be consulted. Only after listening to all sides, a national consensus should be developed on regulating THR products." Any legal or administrative intervention without developing a national consensus would only supplement the status quo on tobacco control in Pakistan, he said. "We need laws and policies owned by all stakeholders."

All policy interventions, he added, should be proportionate to adult smokers. "Pakistan currently has a large number of adult smokers who have been unable to quit. We support all efforts of the government of Pakistan in helping these smokers, but at the same time we would demand that THR should be part of Pakistan's tobacco control policies and plans." He said ARI backs THR products only for the adult smokers who are unable to give up smoking. Syed added there can be no two opinions on keeping young people away from all types of tobacco use and THR products. However, he regretted that because of weak implementation of tobacco law, smoking in youth is a major health issue in Pakistan.

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Call for research-based interventions for regulating emerging tobacco products
ISLAMABAD: Alternative Research Initiative (ARI) has called upon the government to take a research-based approach to sensibly regulate the tobacco harm reduction products in Pakistan, as any knee reaction would lead to more damage to the cause of tobacco use.

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ARI PANTHR

اے آر آئی نے 'پاکستان میں تمباکونوشی کا خاتمہ ممکن ہے' کے عنوان سے ایک پوسٹر تیار کیا ہے۔ یہ پوسٹر پاکستان میں تمباکونوشوں کی تعداد، تمباکونوشی کے مالی و جانی نقصانات، تمباکونوشی کے خاتمے کے جدید تصور اور ملک سے تمباکونوشی کا خاتمہ کرنے کےلئے چار نکات پر مبنی لائحہ عمل جاننے کے بارے میں رہنمائی فراہم کرتا ہے۔-


Featured Article

Assessing the Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices of Cigarette Smokers and Use of Alternative Nicotine Delivery Systems in Pakistan: A Cross-Sectional Study

Assessing the Knowledge, Attitude, and Practices of Cigarette Smokers and Use of Alternative Nicotine Delivery Systems in Pakistan: A Cross-Sectional Study
The component of smoking cessation is almost missing in Pakistan's existing tobacco control efforts and policies. There is a need to establish smoking cessation clinics in hospitals and create buy-in through mass awareness. This assistance should be backed with public advocacy on the negative effects of combustible smoking.

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    More than 30 years since the first World No Tobacco Day(WNTD), there are still 8 million annual deaths attributed to tobacco use and more than 1 billion individuals still smoke.

  • Potential deaths averted in USA by replacing cigarettes with e-cigarettes

    Introduction US tobacco control policies to reduce cigarette use have been effective, but their impact has been relatively slow. This study considers a strategy of switching cigarette smokers to e-cigarette use ('vaping') in the USA to accelerate tobacco control progress.

  • On World No Tobacco Day, Foundation for a Smoke-Free World Urges Smokers to Quit or Switch to Harm-Reduction Products

    NEW YORK, May 27, 2021 - More than 30 years since the first World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), there are still 8 million annual deaths attributed to tobacco use and more than 1 billion individuals still smoke. These facts are proof that health policies and actions have not been adequate.

  • Cessation, The Right to Health

    About 1,300 million people still use tobacco. One billion of them smoke cigarettes, and many of these want to stop. Every day a smoker over 35 continues to smoke they lose about 3-6 hours of life, thus for the estimated 500 million current adult smokers 62 million days of life are lost every day.

  • ARI Newsletter (Volume 1, Issue 3)

    In a report released on March 31, 2021, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Vaping has called upon the UK government to make the most of Brexit by challenging the World Health Organization's opposition to vaping at the upcoming Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Conference of Parties (COP).

  • Report Details Failures to Scale Up Tobacco Harm Reduction in Asia

    On April 16, the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR) released its newest report-"Tobacco Harm Reduction: A Burning Issue for Asia"-detailing how countries in the region have largely failed to consider safer nicotine products (SNPs) to combat the smoking-related death toll.

  • ARI Newsletter (Volume 1, Issue 2)

    Imagine the outrage if an international non-governmental organization (NGO) focusing on drug abuse called for naloxone manufacturers to not sell their products in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) on grounds that it would confuse regulators and the public, suggesting instead that they focus on ending opioid abuse using only regulatory and educational approaches? How would NGOs in these countries react if this international NGO went further and called on governments to ban the use of naloxone? Recall that naloxone is about 85-95% effective in preventing death from an opioid overdose.

  • Bringing Everyone to the Tobacco Table

    In his new book, Good Business: The Talk, Fight, Win Way to Change the World, Bill Novelli describes, among other things, opportunities that may arise from working with a cancelled industry. Ultimately, however, Novelli's inconsistency on this stance reveals the power of cancel culture to stifle dialogue and impede clearheaded action.

  • With Excess Menthol Use Affecting Black Americans, U.S. Policy Efforts Continue to Fall Short

    In the United States, menthol cigarettes rose to popularity during the 1950s. At about the same time, manufacturers began focusing their marketing efforts on Black Americans. The effects of these campaigns can be felt today, with Black smokers making up more than one quarter of all menthol users in the United States.

  • Why Bans of Low-Risk Nicotine Alternatives to Smoking in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) Will Do More Harm Than Good

    In 2020, The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), a Bloomberg partner for 'The Initiative to reduce tobacco use', published its fourth position statement on e-cigarettes. In it, The Union called for a blanket ban on all electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and heated tobacco products (HTPs) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

  • Newsletter (Volume 1, Issue 1)

    One of the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 3 is to "strengthen the implementation of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in all countries, as appropriate." The indicator for measuring the implementation of FCTC is "age-standardized prevalence of current tobacco use among persons aged 15 years and older."

  • New Zealand Proposes Vape Products Should Carry Health Warnings in Maori

    Under the new proposals, nicotine-containing vaping products would be required to carry a warning label pointing out their addiction potential in both English and te reo Maori, similar to the ones found on cigarettes.

  • An open letter from Darryl Tempest - Executive Director of the Canadian Vaping Association

    Beamsville, ON, Feb. 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- For the better part of the last decade, advocates have fought for vaping to be recognised as a harm reduction tool for adult smokers. In the time since, science has caught up with the industry's message and vaping has been recognized by all health organizations as far less harmful than smoking. Yet, despite the overwhelming evidence concluding that vaping is less harmful, smokers and society at large are still being sent mixed messages by the government and misleading information by media to support a sensationalistic narrative.

  • FCTC Secretariat relaunches plan for accelerated tobacco control, Part II: A case study

    In Part I, I discussed failures in the implementation of the Global Strategy to Accelerate Tobacco Control 2019-2025 (GS2025). As that post indicates, there are many factors contributing to shortcomings on this front. In the current piece, I focus on one where a country, Thailand, which, in my opinion, is still facing challenges in reducing smoking rates despite putting in place policies as outlined in GS2025.

  • It's Time for America to Reclaim its Role in Global Health Leadership.

    For decades, the US was a leader in global health. It played a key role in establishing the World Health Organization (WHO), steered the eradication of diseases like smallpox, and guided the development of innumerable standards that underpin modern health policy. Then came the Trump Presidency. Over the past four years, and particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the administration repeatedly failed to embrace sound health policy, to disastrous effect. The election of Joe Biden must bring about a reversal of these failures.

  • Perspectives regarding the Report on the Tenth Meeting of the WHO

    Perspectives regarding the Report on the Tenth Meeting of the WHO Study Group on Tobacco Product Regulation to be considered at the 148th session of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization.

  • Accelerating change: foundation blog

    It was an era in which we became accustomed to daily death tolls broadcast on TV; work, school, and play shifted to virtual space; and masks served as both a life-saving accessory and confounding controversy. On many fronts, the era was marked by despair, not only from the virus proper, but also from the isolation.

  • FCTC Secretariat relaunches plan for accelerated tobacco control, highlighting WHO's bureaucratic inaction

    In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) adopted the Global Strategy to Accelerate Tobacco Control 2019-2025 (GS2025). Described as "a blueprint for the global tobacco control community," this strategy sought to accelerate implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Two years later, one cannot help but notice the absence of any report on progress toward this goal-an absence that was made all the more glaring when the WHO relaunched GS2025 last month. Intended to coincide with what would have been the Ninth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the FCTC (COP9), this relaunch only highlighted ongoing failures in policy implementation.

  • The Birth of Harm Reduction Informs the World's Need for Safer Nicotine

    Early in 1987 the Conservative government took the radical decision to provide sterile injecting equipment to people who inject in response to the HIV crisis. Only a few months before, it had run an anti-heroin campaign. Now it was giving out free syringes.

  • Tobacco Regulation: Who is Getting It Right?

    I recently addressed the 2020 GTNF conference on the topic of "who is getting tobacco regulation right?". My answer was blunt: at present, very few! If we were, we would not have eight million deaths a year from tobacco use. Nor would we have 1.3 billion people still using tobacco products, most in a toxic combustible or dangerous smokeless form. The goal of a regulator should be primarily to reduce that harm in the fastest possible time. Sadly, this isn't the case today.

  • State ownership of tobacco companies and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

    The focus of this report is on the contradictions and conflicts experienced by governments that own major stakes in tobacco companies, yet are required to support tobacco control at the same time because they are signatories to the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The broader tobacco control environment is not covered by the report, although the context is important.

  • Focusing on recent publication of Gaiha et al.

    As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a challenge for the scientific community to publish results quickly, and publication often occurs at the price of quality and reproducibility, which in turn undermines the public's trust of science.

  • Government intervention in the market for electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). The known, the unknown and the challenges

    ENDS are considerably less harmful than cigarettes. Imposing the same tax burden on them (per unit of "harm") as on cigarettes leads to poorer health outcomes. Differential tax treatment of ENDS will encourage more cigarette smokers to switch to ENDS and could save millions of lives worldwide.

  • Overcoming barriers to disseminate effective smoking cessation treatments globally

    Major gaps remain in cessation products' availability and resource allocation for cessation services globally. Current licensed products are falling short on delivering and sustaining smoking cessation. Innovation in cessation products and services needs to build on learnings in nicotine pharmacokinetics, behavioural insights from consumer research and tap into 21st century tools such as mobile based apps. National implementation of FCTC's Article 14 needs to follow guidelines that encourage integration into existing health programmes and health-care practitioners' (HCPs) upskilling.

  • Perceptions of nicotine in current and former users of tobacco and tobacco harm reduction products from seven countries

    This study specifically assessed public perceptions of nicotine as opposed to products containing nicotine, which is the focus of previous studies. Apart from showing that consumers often incorrectly perceive nicotine and cigarettes as similar in terms of harmfulness, the authors highlight the need for more accurate and complete reporting by the media to clarify widespread misunderstandings and mitigate public uncertainty.

  • Goodbye Nicky hello Goldie - exploring the opportunities for transitioning tobacco farmers into cannabis production in Malawi

    The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the opportunities for tobacco farmers in Malawi from diversifying to cannabis, and the potential benefits for reducing deforestation by producing a cannabis based alternative fuel. It further argues that there are tensions between the conflicting objectives of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

  • Tobacco smoking in three "left behind" subgroups: indigenous, the rainbow community and people with mental health conditions

    This paper aims to investigate the extent to which three subgroups - people with mental health conditions, people belonging to sexual minority and gender groups and Indigenous peoples - have been "left behind" by countries implementing the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

  • Tobacco harm reduction in the 21st century

    Toxicological testing, population studies, clinical trials and randomized controlled trials demonstrate the potential reductions in exposures for smokers. Many barriers impede the implementation of product substitution in tobacco harm reduction. These products have been subjected to regulatory bans and heavy taxation and are rejected by smokers and society based on misperceptions about nicotine, sensational media headlines and unsubstantiated fears of youth addiction. These barriers will need to be addressed if tobacco harm reduction is to make the maximum impact on the tobacco endemic.

  • An overview of tobacco control interventions in the Global South

    Despite the FCTC detailing the significance of the research, studies are still lacking in the Global South. There are significant research gaps such as longitudinal studies, harm reduction and randomized controlled trials.

  • Gender and Tobacco Control

    For more than thirty years, there have been many calls for the mainstreaming of gender into tobacco control; however, insufficient progress has been made with dire health and economic consequences.

  • Who is really co-opting harm reduction?

    The new generation of tobacco harm reduction products (HRPs) has the potential to save millions of lives and finally end the use of toxic combustible cigarettes.

  • Models of Smoking-Attributable Mortality Must Consider the Effects of Major Intervention

    Smoking-related mortality in 2060 could be cut by about 3.5 million deaths if we: (1) increase access to THR products; and (2) improve treatment, cessation, and diagnostic tools.

  • A Rose By Any Other Name

    Ex-smokers deserve a seat at the table in decisions affecting not only names, but research priorities, regulations, taxes, and bans that affect them.

  • The Need to Make Harm Reduction, Smoking Cessation Part of Tobacco Control Policies in Pakistan

    "Two research studies have highlighted the effective role tobacco harm reduction and cessation strategies can play in achieving the objectives of FCTC and reducing combustible smoking," said Arshad Ali Syed, Project Director of PANTHR. Smoking cessation is completely missing from the tobacco control efforts in Pakistan, he added.

  • Overcoming barriers to disseminate effective smoking cessation treatments globally

    Current available cessation products and services are suboptimal in their effectiveness. Cost and efficacy of current smoking cessation medications on the market is an impediment to availability, accessibility and cessation success in Low-Middle Income Countries (LMICs).

  • Accelerating an end to smoking: a call to action on the eve of the FCTC's COP9

    As we evaluate progress toward the goals of the FCTC and how best to update its text, it is vital that we learn from the challenges of other treaties, as well as shortcomings of the FCTC itself. Future efforts must prioritize the end of adult smoking, with particular emphasis on demographics and regions where progress has been slow.

  • A Policy On Smoking Without Smokers Onboard Is No Good. Here's Why!

    Smokers have never been part of the tobacco control policies in Pakistan. Around 27% smokers in Pakistan at least make one attempt in a year and out of them 2.8% quit smoking successfully.

  • The 2019 EVALI 'Misinfodemic'

    THC and nicotine vaping involve different devices, liquids, supply chains, people, and purposes. They should not be confused. But they were. Our analysis shows that evaluated news coverage focused primarily on nicotine vaping, and on nicotine itself.

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OUR PROJECTS

Pakistan is a country with heavy use of tobacco. With more than 24 million...

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KAP Study: This study explores the knowledge, attitude, and practices...

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RESEARCH ARTICLES

The Birth of Harm Reduction Informs the World's Need for Safer Nicotine...

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Alternative Research Initiative (ARI) works to provide researched-based solutions...

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