Scaling Up Tobacco Harm Reduction
In our 2020 report - Burning Issues: the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction – we made the first global estimate of the number of nicotine vapours at 68m, with a further 20m using heated tobacco products and 10m using Swedish style snus or US smokeless. Our best estimate is that there are 100m people using safer nicotine products. This compares with WHO’s estimate of 1.1 billion smokers – a figure unchanged since 2000. There is an urgent need to scale up tobacco harm reduction, which is being held back by: antipathy from tobacco control leaders and organisations; the influence of US philanthropic funders; moral panics; WHO and FTTC; bad science and uncritical media; and the exclusion of affected populations. The dominant response – MPOWER – fails to offer support to help to switch from smoking. Smokers in LMIC are further jeopardised by prohibition purveyed by some US foundations, and the failure of nicotine manufacturers to address the needs of smokers in poorer countries.