A barrage of misinformation and anti-tobacco harm reduction propaganda is getting in the way of public health progress in Asia

The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR) issued its latest report ‘A Burning Issue for Asia and the Far East’ recently, which found that health agencies like the WHO together with anti-lobby groups such as Bloomberg Philanthropies exert tremendous pressure on governments to make it difficult to promote Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) as a public health strategy. This results in policies that are more restrictive than regulation for traditional cigarettes, and discourage smokers from switching from combustible cigarettes to less harmful alternatives, it adds.

During its online presentation hosted by Knowledge Action Change and the Association of Vapers India (AVI), it was revealed that 60% of global smokers live in Adia and the Far East, alongside 90% of global consumers of smokeless tobacco. This results in nearly half the global deaths from smoking from the region. Yet, in many Asian countries THR products are banned or restricted, providing no real access or alternative to those who want to quit tobacco smoking.

This is on the back of proven statistics from Asian countries like Japan, where cigarettes sales have slumped after the take-up of less harmful heated-tobacco products, and similar results in South Korea and Malaysia from vaping. A barrage of misinformation and anti-tobacco harm reduction propaganda is getting in the way of public health progress in Asia, the report finds.

Read full article here.

Daily FT – 2021-05-03.

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