Today has been released the report “Lives Saved Report – Integrating harm reduction into tobacco control”, indicating that significant lives can be saved through the widespread adoption of THR and related measures in Kazakhstan, Pakistan, South Africa and Bangladesh
International tobacco control guidelines are failing in helping smokers quit: we are indeed witnessing a situation where smoking rates appear to be stagnating globally, despite efforts in tobacco prevention and control. This is a cause for concern, as tobacco-related deaths continue to remain high.
A nee report released today, “Lives Saved Report – Integrating harm reduction into tobacco control”, analyzed the current smoking rates and quitting rates in four low Middle-Income countries, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, South Africa, and Bangladesh where a total of 350 000 people die prematurely from tobacco use each year.
The report aims to provide policymakers and public health experts with estimates of the potential benefit of tobacco harm reduction (THR), improved cessation, and better access to lung cancer diagnostics and treatment on reducing premature deaths.
The study’s key findings indicate that significant lives can be saved in these countries through the widespread adoption of THR and related measures. For instance, Kazakhstan could prevent 165 000 premature deaths in the next four decades, while South Africa, Bangladesh and Pakistan could save 320 000, 920 000, and 1 200 000 lives, respectively.
Prof. Riccardo Polosa, CoEHAR Founder and THR experts and advocate, was among the contributors of the paper.
“Calculating the potential lives of adult smokers that can be saved by improving tobacco control and complementing it with harm reduction strategies is a critical exercise in public health” explains prof. Polosa. “This document that marks a key milestone in the fight against smoking-related deaths. I urge decision makers worldwide and particularly those of low- and middle-income countries – where the total number of lives claimed by the smoking epidemic is still too high – to carefully review this document. In these countries, the failure and the current stagnation in the calculation of lives saved from smoking are palpable due to the adoption of strategies that are no longer effective. The evidence is clear, wide adoption of combustion-free nicotine products can potentially save hundreds of thousands of human lives, even up to one million in Pakistan alone”.
Regarding the specific situation of each countries, Polosa urges police makers to “consider tailor-made interventions that foster a culture of health through educational and prevention programs. This approach should incorporate lessons learned from countries with extensive histories of tobacco control, encompassing both their successes and failures”.
This report demands several actions: “the adoption of combustion-free nicotine products presents a viable alternative, but its success hinges on the development of a strategy that thoughtfully incorporates scientific evidence” concludes Polosa “This strategy should seamlessly integrate the evidence into established healthcare approaches to maximize outcomes, which are currently at a standstill. To make a meaningful impact, maximum cooperation is imperative, particularly at the level of healthcare policies. This involves educating the medical community about the relative harms associated with different methods of nicotine consumption and providing comprehensive health education to the end consumer”.
Watch the video of the report launch
Full report available here