GFN and the future of Tobacco Harm Reduction18.06.21
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.
By focusing on ‘The Future of Nicotine’, this year’s Global Forum on Nicotine, to take place in Liverpool on June 17th and 18th 2021, will play its part in considering the emerging themes, trends and issues in Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) which should form a key element of any realistic approach to population level health goals.
GFN is also taking place 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 many stakeholders as not constructive or cognizant of the science on next generation products like vapes, suggesting evidence on vaping is “inconclusive”. Nevertheless “harm reduction” remains in the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control definition of tobacco control so there is always hope they will change tack as the independent body of evidence supporting THR continues to grow.
Fontem Ventures is working to make further strides in the realm of THR with vaping technology that may be more satisfying to more adult smokers in their transition away from combustibles. We believe that showcasing the high quality standards our blu vaping products adhere to can help convince adult smokers that vaping is a viable and potentially less harmful alternative to combustible cigarettes.
At a minimum we, along with other stakeholders like health authorities, need to provide adult smokers with accurate and digestible information about potentially less harmful alternatives to cigarettes so they understand the choices they have if they are uninterested or unwilling to stop using tobacco or nicotine entirely.
It is important that science remains central to all conversations. It’s also important to consider targeting communication and support to different socio-economic groups in order to access the greatest number of individuals.
The good news is health authorities are beginning to see the value in THR policies as demonstrated by the recent NHS vaping trial in the UK.
Research and data continues to validate this approach and support the efficacy of e-vapour products, with last year’s Cochrane Review finding that vapes containing nicotine were the more effective in helping to replace combustible cigarette smoking, than traditional nicotine replacement therapy. While this is promising and encouraging, ultimately these results need to be communicated effectively to adult smokers, allowing them to make an informed choice.
The success of THR in contributing to long term country, regional and global government health objectives hinges on the trust and adoption of potentially less harmful products by adult smokers. Without effective communication and awareness building, the opportunity for THR will be lost.