Hierarchy of Harm Reduction Disagreement (July 27, 2021)
Before 2020, I knew very little about tobacco control. My knowledge did not go beyond what most people know - that cigarettes are bad for your health and could kill you. Subsequently, tobacco harm reduction was a foreign concept to me, although it made logical sense. I volunteered in Lesotho with the Peace Corps; the idea of harm reduction was often used when referring to the HIV/AIDS crisis. Although I did not know much about tobacco control, I was aware that harm reduction had been proven to work in other fields of public health.
Tobacco Harm Reduction: Time to Change Attitudes (July 26, 2021)
In a speech I gave to the Global Forum on Nicotine in June, I noted that when it comes to harm reduction, policy lags far behind the science. For years, decades, even, politicians and health authorities who should know better have ignored, derided and undermined such measures, stuck in a past in which the tobacco industry played a big, bad role.
ARI Newsletter (Volume 1, Issue 5) (July 14, 2021)
Back in 1998, the WHO launched World No Tobacco Day (WMTD) to highlight the dangers of combustible smoking, strengthen global efforts to get smokers to quit and provide an international platform for new anti-smoking policies.
UK Health Agency Reaffirms the Power of Vaping to Help Smokers Quit (July 02, 2021)
On June 25, the United Kingdom's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published new draft guidelines encouraging health care professionals to disseminate clear and up-to-date information for smokers who want to use vapes to quit cigarettes.
World No Tobacco Day 2021 Shows Tobacco Control at a Crossroads (June 15, 2021)
Back in 1988, the World Health Organization launched World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) to highlight the dangers of combustible smoking, strengthen global efforts to get smokers to quit and provide an international platform for new anti-smoking policies. The idea was for the organization's member states to present a united front in the fight against tobacco, and their message was stark: quit, or die.
ARI Newsletter (Volume 1, Issue 4) (June 10, 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.
Potential deaths averted in USA by replacing cigarettes with e-cigarettes (June 02, 2021)
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 (May 28, 2021)
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 (May 20, 2021)
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) (May 18, 2021)
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 (April 20, 2021)
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) (April 12, 2021)
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 (March 27, 2021)
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.
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.
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) (March 09, 2021)
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 (February 17, 2021)
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 (February 17, 2021)
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 (January 25, 2021)
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. (January 25, 2021)
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 (January 25, 2021)
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 (December 23, 2020)
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 (December 17, 2020)
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 (November 07, 2020)
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? (September 30, 2020)
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. (September 22, 2020)
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. (September 17, 2020)
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 (September 08, 2020)
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 (September 08, 2020)
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 (September 08, 2020)
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 (September 08, 2020)
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 (September 08, 2020)
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 (September 08, 2020)
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 (September 08, 2020)
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 (August 17, 2020)
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? (August 17, 2020)
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 (August 14, 2020)
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 (August 03, 2020)
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 (July 22, 2020)
"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 (July 13, 2020)
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 (July 09, 2020)
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! (July 09, 2020)
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' (May 29, 2020)
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.