Quit For Good, a non-profit promoting harm reduction in the Philippines, has set its sights on the FDA and WHO, in a request to focus their efforts on helping adult smokers access better alternatives to cigarettes.
During the Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum (GTNF) in Seoul, CTP Director Doctor Brian King commented on the current situation presenting in America.
“We’re now down to 11.5 percent among U.S. adults, which is remarkable, and I hope that we continue to see those declines, given that we do know that combustible smoking is responsible for the overwhelming burden of death and disease from tobacco.”
The US government currently spends $600 billion USD annually as a result of addressing direct health care costs and lost productivity caused by smoking.
Doctor King said:
“There is also a financial benefit for us to continue to focus on reducing combustible use in the United States…”
However, due to America’s intensified efforts to decrease youth nicotine consumption, many smokers and ex-smokers feel their access to safe, regulated tobacco harm reduction tools has been drastically limited.
In response to these measures, that also target harm reduction tools, the President of Quit For Good – Doctor Lorenzo Mata Jr. – called for a balanced policy that ‘will both protect the youth and help adult smokers at the same time’.
Doctor Mata pointed out that despite CTP’s acknowledgement that traditional cigarettes are to blame for many of the preventable illnesses and deaths in America, there continues to be a focus on wiping out smoking cessation tools as well.
Doctor Mata said:
“Science supports tobacco harm reduction, which can save smokers’ lives.
“While the FDA has taken an independent policy from the World Health Organization which continues to demonise these innovative products, it is time for the US to make a significant stride against smoking by promoting, instead of restricting, these products as alternatives to cigarettes.
“Right now, we have the ability to regulate all products containing nicotine regardless of the source, and that is thanks to a new law that Congress passed in 2022.
“We have been working feverishly over the past year to ensure that we are able to fold in those synthetic nicotine products into our portfolio of regulation.”
He also noted that despite rising fears surrounding youth vaping, the number of children using e-cigarettes in America had in fact decreased since 2019.
Doctor Mata said:
“We’re now seeing about half the number of kids currently using e-cigarettes as we did at that peak in 2019, which is a good thing.
“And I hope to continue to see that proceed forward. But on balance, we also have over 2 million kids using these products, and there’s still room to go in terms of reducing that use.”
With fears of youth vaping storming the media at the moment, it’s easy for those in power to focus on those affected by the dire consequences of smoking combustible cigarettes.
As Doctor Mata mentioned, it is imperative that a more balanced strategy is brought forward to protect both youths from vaping, but also adult smokers looking for safe alternatives to smoking.