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Pan-Asia event to focus on pragmatic solutions for region’s dire tobacco death toll – and why they are being blocked

On Sunday 18 April, the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction and Association of Vapers India will co-host the online launch of a new report, Tobacco Harm Reduction: A Burning Issue for Asia. Featuring leading regional consumer advocates and tobacco harm reduction experts, the event is free and open to all and will be live at the following times: 10.00 – 11.15, UK / 14.30 – 15.45, India / 16.00 – 17.15, Thailand / 17:00 – 18:15, Hong Kong.

Every year in Asia, four million people die prematurely as a result of smoking – well over half of all global smoking-related deaths – and four of the five countries with the highest global rates for oral cancer are in the region as a consequence of high rates of smokeless tobacco use (SLT).

Tobacco harm reduction allows people to quit smoking or using dangerous forms of tobacco by switching to safer nicotine products (SNP). Nicotine does not cause the death and disease associated with smoking or SLT use. Compared to smoking or SLT, products such as vaping devices (e-cigarettes), heated tobacco products (HTP) and pasteurised oral snus enable people who cannot or do not wish to stop using nicotine to do so at a fraction of the risk.

New research in Tobacco Harm Reduction: A Burning Issue for Asia will reveal for the first time an estimate for the number of people who have already switched to use vaping products in Asia. But despite the huge public health potential of tobacco harm reduction in the region, many governments have limited or prohibited access to SNP. The report will explore the obstacles to tobacco harm reduction in Asia, including the impact of state ownership of tobacco companies, a misinformation campaign from apparently credible international agencies, and the influence of US-led philanthropic funding on domestic policy-making.

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At the live launch, hosted by Kanav Kumar of Association of Vapers India, five leading regional consumer advocates will discuss the findings of the report alongside its author, Harry Shapiro of the GSTHR. The GSTHR and AVI are delighted to be welcoming Samsul Kamal Arrifin (Malaysian Organization of Vape Entity), Nancy Loucas (The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates, New Zealand), Joaqui Gallardo (Vaper AKO, Philippines), Asa Saligupta (ENDs Cigarette Smoke Thailand) and Samrat Chowdhery (Association of Vapers India and the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations).

Registered participants can submit questions for the panel, either live on the day or in advance, at the event website. To join the event, and to receive the briefing paper and a series of pre-event videos direct, register at https://gsthr.events.org

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