Experts at Global Forum on Nicotine 2021 say public health, tobacco control must unite in fight against smoking-related deaths, diseases

International public health specialists, scientists, medical practitioners, tobacco control experts, industry and investment analysts and consumers convened for the Global Forum on Nicotine 2021 (#GFN21) on Thursday, June 17 and Friday June 18, 2021 in Liverpool, United Kingdom (UK) and streamed free online, to highlight the vital role of safer nicotine products in the fight to reduce global smoking-related deaths and diseases.

Since the start of the pandemic, the world has lost an estimated 3.75 million people to COVID-19; a devastating figure that remains under half the annual death toll from smoking. Every day, 1.1 billion smokers still light up around the world, a figure that has stalled for over 20 years despite decades of tobacco control efforts. Eighty per cent of the world’s smokers live in low and middle-income countries (LMIC), least able to cope with the disease burden of smoking, and in higher income countries, smoking is a major cause of health inequalities.

People smoke to obtain nicotine, a comparatively low risk substance, but are harmed by thousands of toxins released when tobacco burns. Experts at the Global Forum on Nicotine discussed an approach called tobacco harm reduction; people who cannot quit nicotine are encouraged to switch from dangerous combustible or oral products to safer nicotine products including vapes (e-cigarettes), pasteurised snus, non-tobacco nicotine pouches and heated tobacco products. Compared to continued smoking, all are significantly less harmful to health.

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Chukwuma Muanya – The Guardian – 2021-07-15.

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