• May 22, 2024

‘Harm Reduction Is Human Right’

 ‘Harm Reduction Is Human Right’
Photo: Horst Winkler from Pixabay

The European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA) is calling on policymakers to recognize the benefits of tobacco harm reduction in advance of World No Tobacco Day on May 31.

According to ETHRA, reduced-risk products such as e-cigarettes and snus are providing a gateway out of smoking for millions of Europeans, yet across the continent, consumer access to these products is being denied or is under threat.

Today, the organization launched a manifesto to promote appropriate regulation of innovative solutions for people who wish to continue using nicotine in far safer forms than smoking tobacco, as well as on behalf of the many smokers who may be able to quit through switching to these products in the future.

Among other things, the manifesto calls for access to harm reduction, including tobacco harm reduction, to be recognized as a human right; for consumers of safer nicotine products to be recognized as essential stakeholders in discussions of policy; and for the regulation for safer nicotine products to reflect the risks relative to the risks from smoking. 

What’s more, regulators must recognize that having a wide choice of products and flavors is key to the success of safer nicotine products in enabling people to stop smoking, according to the manifesto. Regulation must consider the harm to adults when considering bans intended to protect youth, and tax policy must consider that high taxation of safer nicotine products increases rates of smoking.

Comprising 21 consumer associations in 16 European countries, the ETHRA was created to increase understanding about the benefits of “new” risk-reduced nicotine products and to promote recognition of long-term recreational use of nicotine as an incentive for smoking cessation.