The Australian launch of ‘No Fire, No Smoke; the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR) — ‘The Right to Choose’ took place on March the 5th in Melbourne, at the Victorian Parliament and on March the 7th in Sydney, at the New South Wales Parliament. Both events were hosted by the Progressive Public Health Alliance, the Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association (ATHRA) and the New Nicotine Alliance (Australia) and were attended by MPs, health policy professionals, academics, harm reduction experts, journalists, consumers and vape supporters.
The events linked the contents of the GSTHR report and the emerging evidence relating to health and relative risk, to focus on the legal and regulatory issues surrounding the use of safer nicotine products in Australia, which has one of the highest cigarette prices in the world, plain packaging and robust tobacco controls laws. Despite that, the statistics prove that the best efforts of regulatory and financial pressure have not been supportive enough to those most vulnerable in society such as first nation citizens and people with severe mental illness, whose smoking rates are far higher.
As well as presenting the key messages of the report and tobacco harm reduction generally, a guiding principle of our dissemination activities in other countries is to work with and support those local advocates and champions to press for pragmatic and proportionate responses to the advent of safer nicotine products. This is especially important in countries like Australia where currently the medical establishment and politicians are working against the best interests of the health of those smokers who want to transition away from cigarettes while still having the choice to consume nicotine.