World Vape Day observed

Speakers at an event urged policymakers to incorporate Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) strategy in their tobacco control plans and establish safer alternatives such as vaping products as smoking cessation medium like progressive nations around the world.

To commemorate World Vape Day 2022, Voice of Vapers Bangladesh organized a panel discussion titled, ‘The Need for a Tobacco Harm Reduction Strategy: Achieving the Government’s Health Agenda and Revenue Ambitions’ which was held at a Dhaka hotel on May 28.

Health Diplomats President Dr Delon Human said, “Bangladesh is widely recognised as a resilient nation, known for her prowess to prove her critics wrong. Historically, the indomitable spirit of Bangladeshis has made them question the status quo and establish the rights of its people. The stupendous development across all sectors is a true testament of that.”

“I believe the Honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh H E Sheikh Hasina envisions a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040. But to achieve this, there needs to be a credible harm reduction strategy as practiced by many developed countries. The authorities must consider regulating safer alternatives such as vaping and make them accessible to smokers wanting to quit. Set quality parameters, regulate it like any other industry and promote it as a cessation tool,” he added.

Dr Delon has served as an adviser on global public health strategies to three Directors-General of the WHO and to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon. He is a former secretary general of the World Medical Association (WMA).

Bangladesh Open University Public Health Nutrition Core Faculty Member Dr Altamash Mahmood reiterated how vaping is established as a cessation tool and a safer alternative to smoking. “Cigarettes are harmful, but nicotine is not. This is because smoking involves combustion that creates tar and other toxicants. Vaping, on the other hand, only heats the liquid to create vapour to deliver nicotine. Moreover, vaping does not induce second-hand smoking.”

Most nations seek public health advocacy from Public Health England and according to them, vaping is 95 per cent safer than smoking cigarettes.

“This is why the UK government has an independent chapter on safer alternatives in their tobacco control plan with the National Health Service of UK (NHS) prescribing vaping as efficient cessation tools. According to the Consumer Choice Center in USA, about 62 lakh smokers will take up vaping if Bangladesh regulates the industry,” he opined.