CAPHRA Slams Who's Tobacco Control: Demands Inclusive Evidence-based Approach
The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) is calling for a significant shift in the global approach to tobacco control, criticising the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) for its exclusionary practices and prohibitionist agenda.
CAPHRA argues that the current framework not only marginalises consumers seeking safer alternatives but also inadvertently promotes the use of more harmful tobacco products.
Exclusion of Consumers and the Right to Health
CAPHRA highlights a critical flaw in the WHO FCTC's approach: the exclusion of consumers from the conversation on tobacco harm reduction.
"By side-lining the voices of those directly impacted, the WHO FCTC is ignoring a fundamental human rights issue," saysNancy Loucas, a public health policy expert and passionate advocate for tobacco harm reduction and executive coordinator of CAPHRA.
"Individuals seeking to protect their loved ones and themselves from the harms of smoking are being denied access to less harmful alternatives. This is not just a failure in policy but a failure in compassion," said Ms Loucas.
The Influence of Prohibitionists
The organisation also raises concerns about the undue influence of prohibitionist groups within the WHO FCTC framework.
"There is a troubling trend where the WHO FCTC appears to have been co-opted by entities with a prohibitionist agenda," Ms Loucas continues. "These groups, often operating under the guise of public health, are pushing for the outright ban of reduced-risk products, leaving consumers with no alternative but to continue using traditional tobacco products."
Inconsistent Policies on Tobacco Products
CAPHRA points out the inconsistency in the WHO FCTC's stance on tobacco products. While deadly tobacco products remain widely available, there is a push to ban less harmful alternatives.
"This approach is not only counterproductive but also harmful," asserts Ms Loucas, adding "Evidence suggests that access to reduced-risk nicotine-delivery products is linked with decreased smoking rates and cigarette sales. By advocating for bans on these alternatives, the WHO FCTC is ignoring the potential for these products to compete with cigarettes and reduce the overall harm associated with tobacco use," said Ms Loucas.
Call to Action
CAPHRA is calling on the WHO FCTC to reconsider its current strategies and adopt a more inclusive, evidence-based approach to tobacco harm reduction.
"It's time for the WHO FCTC to embrace harm reduction as a cornerstone of its tobacco control efforts," says Ms Loucas.
"This includes recognising the role of consumers in the conversation, acknowledging the potential of reduced-risk products to save lives, and adopting policies that genuinely aim to reduce the global burden of tobacco-related diseases."