Smokers today are demanding a better alternative to get their nicotine intake without the harmful effect of burning a cigarette. With the introduction of alternative products such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco, consumers all around the world are embracing the potential benefit from such tobacco harm reduction effort. Even leading health policy agencies such as Public Health England in the UK and the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in the US have acknowledged the potential benefit of these products, and therefore introduced policies that would encourage smokers to switch.
Unfortunately, such progressive policy is not reflected in many Asian countries that remain very skeptical about tobacco harm reduction, and some have even banned alternative products. Regulators need to see that tobacco harm reduction is potentially the most effective solution for cigarette-smoking-epidemic. Considering that Asia today has the highest number of smokers in the world, the public health benefit from tobacco harm reduction would be immense. This is the underlying rationale for the Asia Harm Reduction Forum, where scientists, health practitioners, academicians, policy observers, as well as consumers gather to exchange ideas on how best to advance tobacco harm reduction in Asia.
The Harm Reduction Alliance of Philippines (HARAP) is proud to be the co-host of the 2nd Asia Harm Reduction Forum, which will be held in Manila on 15 November 2018. We look forward to welcoming all the participants from Asia and the Pacific region. We believe that this Forum will greatly benefit the public health sectors and particularly smokers in Asia who deserve the access to better alternative tobacco products.
Prof. Ron Sison