Stil jete

Global Nicotine Forum in Warsaw: Restrictive harm reduction policies drive illegality

Global Nicotine Forum in Warsaw: Restrictive harm reduction policies drive

Although well-intentioned, regulatory policies with a fundamentally restrictive approach when it comes to reducing the harm of smoking do not work. We have an obligation to listen to people, to understand their challenges, how they can reduce their health risks if they do not want to quit smoking. These were some of the messages of the Global Forum on Nicotine, which was recently held in Warsaw.

Cliff Douglas, president and CEO of Global Action to End Smoking, a non-profit organization that scientifically supports smoking cessation through traditional and new methods, gave his perspective on the panel Bridging the Gap- Taking Global Action to End Smoking".

According to him, one of the biggest misunderstandings that this initiative has received is the impression that through the concept of harm reduction, the problem of smoking has been "solved".

"Many healthcare professionals and patients believe that their only options for quitting smoking are the 'willpower' method or the use of medical nicotine replacement products such as gum. But we know that there are many people who do not. they can or simply don't want to quit smoking using drugs," said Douglas.

Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association president and founder Colin Mendelsohn explained, taking Australia as an example, what restrictive policies do.

"History has shown that strict restrictions on a popular product simply make it illegal. People find other ways to buy it. That's why today, Australia ranks as one of the countries with the highest use of vape among of young people.

Australia's experience shows us that restrictive policies lead to harmful consequences. Politicians have a duty to understand what impact the policies they implement have in practice. When a policy fails, the costs - whether monetary or otherwise - can be significant," said Mendelsohn.

Co-founder of the Global Forum on Nicotine, Professor Gary Stimson, believes that the fight in this area is more long-term.

"There is almost universal hostility to heat in Australia. Colin's perspective comes from a long career in practice. His thesis on quitting smoking has not been easy for him. He has not been immune to attacks or attempts for censorship and has faced rejections from medical journals, complaints from professional bodies as well as misinterpretations.

Having said that, he has never given up nor has he chosen to criticize in silence. Australia needs to leave behind the strange attempts to regulate the e-cigarette market by making them disappear. Colin will be committed to making this happen," Stimson concluded .