Metro Manila News
Health policy experts ask regulators to ease rules on smoke-free nicotine products
Public health experts have gathered in Melbourne, Australia to urge international health bodies and government regulators to ease the restrictive rules against non-combustible, smoke-free nicotine products that are regarded as much safer alternatives to cigarette smoking.
“We have the evidence that harm reduction products—snus, vapes and heat-not-burn tobacco are at least 90-percent safer,” Dr. Colin Mendelsohn, a tobacco treatment specialist and conjoint associate professor in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of New South Wales said during the 9th International City Health Conference held in Melbourne on October 3 to 4.
The Progressive Public Health Alliance, a group of health professionals, researchers and public health advocates, organized the conference that has a focus on urban health and harm reduction in all its forms.
Harm reduction refers to an approach designed to reduce the negative impact associated with a practice such as cigarette smoking. Such an approach is being opposed by people who feel they have an obligation to defend their moralistic views.
Participants in the conference also urged the public not to be swayed by the recent hysteria against vaping, saying non-combustible, smoke-free nicotine products from reputable suppliers are always safer than smoking.
While there were recent reports of an outbreak of vaping-related illnesses in the US, the United Kingdom which has the most advanced regulation on electronic-cigarettes has not recorded any vaping-related deaths so far.
Public Health England reported in 2015 that the use of electronic cigarettes was 95-percent less harmful than cigarette smoking. The US outbreak is now being investigated for the possible use of illicit vaping liquids or THC containing liquids.
Public health advocates in Melbourne said the US issue should not grab the attention away from the much greater harm caused by cigarette smoking. “Tobacco smoking kills 19,000 people in Australia every year,” Mendelsohn said.
Globally, 20,000 smokers die of cancer and other related illnesses each day, translating into a death every 4.5 seconds.
Mendelsohn said that unfortunately, the rate of decline in smoking rate in Australia has stagnated over the past six years because of the government's ban on harm reduction products.
“Harm reduction products are safer. We are the only western democracy to ban them,” said Mendelsohn.
“We know there are three types of tobacco harm reduction—snus which had a huge success in Scandinavia, vaping and heat-not-burn products. These are different options, all of which are effectively illegal in Australia,” he said.
Health advocates noted that countries that allow harm reduction products have experienced a rapid decline in smoking rate.
Japan, for example, saw a third of its cigarette market disappear since heated tobacco products such as IQOS was introduced in 2014.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is currently devising its approach to the shift from cash to rice allocation for its 4.4 million Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries. DSWD Undersecretary for Special Concern...
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte vowed to shut down all massage parlors and spas that offer “extra service’’ or those providing sexual favors in exchange of cash. She said no stone would be left unturned in the campaign, un...
Philippine National Police (PNP) officer-in-charge, Lt. Gen. Archie Francisco Gamboa, has ordered police officers to refrain from playing golf on weekdays. “I am now declaring that there will be no more golf during weekdays. Nobody is exempted...
Newly appointed National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) regional director Gen. Debold Sinas and Manila Police District (MPD) chief P/Brig Gen. Bernabe Balba paid courtesy call on Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” D...
Mayor Mel Aguilar and some members of Task Force Kaayusan visited Barangay Talon Dos and Barangay Talon Kuatro in Octoner 21. The barangay visit is part of the monitoring process being conducted by the city government to ensure the maintenance of cl...
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said appropriate measures will be undertaken to make sure the recent fish kill in the Las Piñas-Paranaque Wetland Park (LPPWP) will not affect the rehabilitation efforts in Manila...