The Asia Harm Reduction Forum 2021 attended by the leading experts in technology, public health policy and science met to discuss the tobacco harm reduction (THR) strategies deployed in various countries, according to a press release from the Canadian Vaping Association.
“We have known the risks from smoking for many decades. We have known that it is the smoke, not the nicotine, that is responsible. We also know that we can deliver nicotine in ways that have minimal risk,” said David Sweanor, chair of the Center for Health Law, Policy and Ethics and an adjunct professor of law at the University of Ottawa. “As a result, Sweden’s rates of tobacco-related illness and death are by far the lowest that you can see in the European Union. Their smoking rates are now low enough that many people would call it a smoke-free society. When Norway allowed snus products to be more widely available, cigarette smoking fell by half in just 10 years. When Iceland allowed both vaping products and snus into the market, smoking fell by about 40 percent in just three years.”
For decades, Canada has tried to curb smoking through education and taxation with limited success. Reductions in smoking prevalence had generally slowed, with modest annual declines prior to more mainstream adoption of vaping by smokers. Vaping experienced peak adoption in 2019, which lead to a 7.5 percent decline in cigarette sales.
“Harm reduction is one of the four pillars of Canada’s drug and substances policy. Policy that makes vaping less appealing to smokers, like flavor restrictions and taxation, is out of step with this policy. In effect, Canada has embraced harm reduction in name but not substance,” said Darryl Tempest, Government Relations Council to the Canadian Vaping Association.