for the world of Smoking Harm Reduction, 2020, was a year of transition from an epidemic to a pandemic.
2019, instead, has been characterized by the “EVALI” epidemic in the United States, and the misleading efforts by international organizations (such as the FDA and CDC) to spread fear and confusion. While they misinformed vapers about the harm from nicotine vaping, it was clear that the cause behind EVALI was the use of THC cartridges contaminated with vitamins and acetate.
Luckily, the COVID-19 pandemic has finally taught ideology must never be used to guide science. The fundamental principles of Public Health begin with clear communication and analysis of the causes of the problem, which prevent thousands of deaths.
For the Public Health systems worldwide health system, already under pressure from the COVID-19 epidemic, it means an increase in the number of patients and the curb of an effective tool against smoking-related diseases. Vaping has proven to be the most effective and revolutionary tool to quit smoking.
Even in the international arena, Public Health agencies must stop the increase of bans and regulations to regain the public trust they are unavoidably losing. To do so, they shall demonstrate an impartial approach to the issue.
The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR) 2020 was the latest in a series of historical reports from the public health agency Knowledge Action Change (KAC). The authors of Burning Issues revealed an urgent need to increase Tobacco Harm Reduction to fulfill Public Health potential.
The challenge for 2021 is to accelerate the global transition to less harmful products as much as possible. The predominance of vaping demonstrates how tobacco users accept it as an alternative to quitting smoking.
Just recently, together with CoEHAR researchers, we published a paper investigating the future of Harm Reduction: it is a study that looks to the future. It aims to become a bridge between anti-tobacco activism that wishes to eradicate smoking and the opportunities given by vaping. The common goal must be reducing the damage resulting from the products of combustion, with the purpose of eliminating any addiction to smoking.
COVID-19 has never stopped the scientific activity of CoEHAR. On the opposite, it has recently conducted fundamental studies on the topic of harm reduction. Our researchers around the world are making great efforts to secure the answers the world expects from science. We have not stopped, and we will not stop.
To all the researchers, and to those who are fighting the pandemic, our biggest Thanks. 2020 has changed the world, has revolutionized our lifestyle, and will leave us with historical changes.
Let’s think about writing a new story together.
To all of you, my most sincere wishes for a Merry Christmas
Prof. Riccardo Polosa