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Challenging The Next NZ Government: Include Consumer Advocacy In Tobacco Harm Reduction Discussions

By Nancy Loucas, Executive Coordinator, CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates).

As the New Zealand election approaches in October 2023, it’s crucial to address the importance of consumer advocacy in the tobacco harm reduction debate. Tobacco harm reduction has gained attention in recent years, with public health experts advocating for safer alternatives to conventional cigarettes. However, concerns have arisen that consumer voices are being excluded, particularly on the global stage.

The upcoming WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Conference of Parties 10 (of which New Zealand is a delegate) is meeting in Panama in November 2023. It presents the ideal forum for the next New Zealand Government to be a leader in supporting consumer participation. Excluding adult consumers from the tobacco harm reduction discourse could have severe consequences.

Consumers play a vital role in promoting harm reduction strategies and have first-hand experience with the products. Their feedback can significantly improve the safety and efficacy of harm reduction products.

In New Zealand, tobacco harm reduction consumer advocates have actively engaged in the debate, and proactively contributed to the development of effective strategies and our current regulatory scheme. It’s essential that these advocates participate in global discussions to represent the needs and perspectives of consumers on the international stage.

It is critical to include adult consumer perspectives in the debate. Recognising the crucial role of consumers in the tobacco harm reduction debate, we can work collaboratively to reduce tobacco-related harm and improve public health for all.

The next New Zealand Government must support the call for adult consumer participation at the WHO FCTC COP10 meeting in Panama. By doing so, we can ensure that harm reduction strategies are formulated with consumers’ needs in mind and are effective in reducing the harm from tobacco use.

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