Safer Nicotine: saving lives. Tobacco Harm Reduction in Latin America
We invite you to take part in a discussion with thought leaders from the region and beyond.
Place: the President Intercontinental Hotel, 28 February 2020, 10.00 – 17.00.
Guest speakers: Professor David Sweanor, Professor Gerry Stimson, Professor Kevin McGirr, Jessica Harding and Roberto Sussman.
The event will present the opportunity to examine international evidence, also considering local circumstances, and is designed to promote an honest debate on the merits of a harm reduction approach to tackling the problems created by smoking tobacco.
Our panel of international experts will examine the evidence for tobacco harm reduction and discuss how regulation of new, safer products should reflect the relative risk they may pose, vis-à-vis cigarettes. The panel will also address some of the untruths and myths that recently have appeared in the media, concerning the harms new products may create – including the risk of possible uptake by young people who are not smokers.
In 2016 in Latin America, over 360,000 smokers died as a result of their use of combustible tobacco products. In Mexico alone 7.8 percent of all deaths are attributed to smoking. Tobacco harm reduction, using safer nicotine products, offers new choices to millions of people worldwide who want to switch away from smoking, but have been unable to with the options previously available.
There is substantial international, independent evidence that the safer nicotine products that are available today – including nicotine vaping devices (e-cigarettes), heated tobacco products and Swedish-style oral snus – are demonstrably and significantly safer than smoking tobacco.
Until now, official responses to tackle the death and disease caused by smoking have been led by tobacco control. While it has achieved much, it has not eradicated tobacco use. Millions of people worldwide are either unable or unwilling to give up nicotine and continue smoking tobacco to consume it.
In higher income countries, smoking levels remain highest among marginalised communities. In many low- and middle-income countries, smoking levels have plateaued and population increases look set to increase the number of people who smoke.
Where safer nicotine products are accessible and well regulated, the evidence is clear. People quit combustible tobacco in huge numbers and switch to these products – making the choice to improve their own health, at almost no cost to governments and taxpayers.
Yet bans on safer nicotine products are rising, including in those countries where the number of people who smoke is predicted to increase due to population growth. Government policies and regulation are being unduly influenced by flawed science and anti-harm reduction lobbying, leading to sensational media coverage. Flawed public health information in many countries, often compounded by exaggerated claims in the media, is confusing and misleading people who want to switch away from smoking.
The panel will argue that any legislation and regulation for new products should be guided by the science, which increasingly demonstrates the potential gains for the health of individuals and communities of smokers switching to safer ways to use nicotine.
Millions of people should not be denied access to products that can help them avoid poor quality of life, disease, and premature death. Preventing access to these products denies people their right to health as enshrined in many international health conventions.
We very much hope you will be able to attend the event and looking forward to seeing you there.