Tobacco Harm Reduction Now Globally Recognized as a Public Health Strategy – Pakistan

LAHORE: Harm reduction from tobacco is now globally recognized as an important public health strategy, to reduce the risks to their health and attention is being given to the shift from traditional smoking to heated tobacco products.

With the rapid increase in the number of smokers around the world, tobacco manufacturers are seeking to introduce innovative, scientific and research-based solutions in the form of alternatives. One of these reduced risk technologies are heated tobacco products.

Rooted in the principle of tobacco harm reduction, a public health strategy that aims to reduce the health risks to individuals and to society in general associated with the consumption of tobacco products, these devices heat tobacco instead. to burn it (which science shows to be the main culprit in most smoking-related diseases) as in conventional cigarettes and cigars. They therefore produce much lower amounts of harmful compounds, 95% less to be exact according to Public Health England (PHE), than those found in cigarette smoke.

With the growing awareness of the harmful health effects of cigarettes and their impact on the environment, there has been a surge in demand for less harmful alternatives. However, due to the lack of a regulatory policy in place, many tobacco shops in Pakistan sell direct to customers, while a majority of these devices are also sold online, mostly smuggled and duty free. .

“In addition to tackling the illicit trade in cigarettes and unburned alternatives, the regulation of reduced-risk products and their inclusion in tobacco control and public health policies will also help provide adult smokers with the right information and good options for continuing to smoke. “said Muhammad Zeeshan, Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer (CEO) of Philip Morris Pakistan Limited.

It can be noted that by validating the reduced level of toxins contained in these products compared to traditional cigarettes, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year authorized the marketing of these tobacco heating systems as ” Modified risk tobacco products ”.

Mitch Zeller, director of the Center for Tobacco Products at the FDA, said that marketing these products with the authorized information can “help addicted adult smokers move away from burnt cigarettes and reduce their exposure to harmful chemicals, but only if they change completely ”.

According to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), “although nicotine is the addictive substance in cigarettes, it is relatively harmless. Almost all of the damage caused by smoking comes from the thousands of other chemicals in tobacco smoke, many of which are toxic. ”

Although not without risk, studies show that these unburned products contain levels of harmful compounds much lower than those of combustible cigarettes. There is scientific evidence that proves that if a smoker completely switches to these smoking products, he is likely to have substantial improvements in his health.

“It makes no sense to deny adult smokers, who would otherwise continue to smoke, access to less harmful and scientifically proven alternatives to continuing to smoke,” noted Andleeb Uroos Ahmed, communications manager at Philip. Morris Pakistan Limited, ”she added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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