Saturday December 09, 2023

Tobacco, nicotine products: Campaign launched to counter harm reduction narrative

By Bureau report
October 12, 2023

PESHAWAR: A civil society organization, Blue Veins, has started a campaign to challenge the so-called harm reduction narrative propagated by the tobacco industry and its front groups about tobacco and nicotine products.

Focusing on Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs) and e-cigarettes, the group counters the industry’s misleading messages by emphasizing the health risks associated with these products.

According to the organization, recent evidence from international studies indicated that both HTPs and e-cigarettes not only failed to support smoking cessation but can also lure young individuals into the trap of smoking.

These products have been linked to oxidative stress, inflammation, and addiction due to the presence of nicotine.

Qamar Naseem, Programme Manager Blue Veins, said:”The claims about the supposed safety and purported benefits of vapes and e-cigarettes are an outright lie. These claims mirror the longstanding deceitful strategies of the industry to underplay their product’s risks and exaggerate its benefits.”

He said there was no conclusive scientific evidence that e-cigarettes promoted successful long-term quitting. However, he said that there were proven cessation strategies and treatments, including counseling and approved cessation medications.

Zahoor Ahmad, a child rights activist representing the Child Rights Movement (CRM) KP, raised concerns about the vulnerable children and youth. He said: “We cannot allow our children and youth to continue being victims of the industry’s marketing tactics.”

“Given the aggressive marketing tactics of the e-cigarette and HTP industries, it is crucial for advocates of women’s, children’s, and health rights to remain vigilant. The impact of HTPs and e-cigarettes on women, children, and other vulnerable groups cannot be underestimated, as these populations may easily become targets and fall prey to such tactics,” he added.