International public health specialists, scientists, doctors, tobacco control experts and consumers are convening for the Global Forum on Nicotine 2021 June 17 and 18 in Liverpool, U.K., and streaming free online, to highlight the vital role of safer nicotine products in the fight to reduce global smoking-related death and disease.
Experts at the forum will discuss tobacco harm reduction, a concept that calls for encouraging adult smokers who cannot quit nicotine to switch from dangerous combustible or oral products to safer nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, pasteurized snus, nontobacco nicotine pouches and heated-tobacco devices.
“Up to 98 million consumers worldwide have already made the switch to safer nicotine products,” said GFN director Gerry Stimson, emeritus professor at Imperial College London, in a statement.
“In England, health authorities support vaping to quit smoking, and vapes are now the most popular quit aid. Tobacco-related mortality in Sweden, where snus has almost replaced smoking, is the lowest in Europe. And in Japan, cigarette sales have dropped by a third since heated-tobacco products came to market. Manufacturers must now ensure safer alternatives are affordable to people in LMIC [low- to middle-income countries], not just consumers in high income nations,” he said.
“Worryingly, international tobacco control leaders are doggedly pursuing an irresponsible prohibitionist approach to tobacco and nicotine, while the WHO actively perpetuates misinformation on new nicotine products. Public health will not be served nor lives saved by a war on nicotine, as doomed to failure as the war on drugs. The WHO must refocus its efforts on supporting 1.1 billion adult smokers to quit by all available means.”