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It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that I left my home in Pakistan to study in the UK. Back then, when I wanted to hear my family’s voice, I had to wait beside a landline telephone for what seemed like an eternity to get a three-minute, very expensive call from home. Compare that to communication technology now. Our mobile phones instantly connect us to the world 24 hours a day.
But like many new technologies, mobile phones were first met with skepticism and suspicion. Some worried about radiation causing cancer or heart disease. Others feared losing their privacy. But imagine what life would be like, if we had listened to those early, negative campaigns and banned mobile phones?
New technologies shouldn’t be banned or shunned, they should be studied and rigorously evaluated. Technological advances have great potential to improve global health in many ways – including by ridding the world of dangerous cigarette smoke. In the recently published article, Harm Minimization and Tobacco Control: Reframing Societal Views of Nicotine Use to Rapidly Save Lives, the authors, David Abrams et al., indicate we should re-evaluate traditional tobacco control strategies and explore the possible role of harm reduction products.
The Foundation for Smoke-Free World aims to do just that. With its recent call for public participation to help form its research agenda, the Foundation is keeping an open mind about the many ways in which rapidly advancing technologies can benefit global public health. We are seeking feedback and research partnerships not just with health organizations, but with technology companies, behavioral scientists and others with an interest in exploring new and innovative ways to end smoking.
New technologies can and should be part of the solution to the smoking epidemic. Yet, fears still abound, and in some cases, those fears are making it harder for smokers to put down their cigarettes. For example, countries as diverse as Brazil, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates have banned e-cigarettes, when studies show e-cigarettes can be an effective tool for helping smokers quit.
Smoking is the world’s most urgent public health problem. Ending smoking will require more than just one individual, one organization, or one idea – it will take an amalgamation of entities and ideas to find solutions that can truly help the one billion smokers living on this planet. Let’s be open to researching all advancements with a potential to do good for public health.
The tobacco ecosystem in India is complex. @andymukherjee70 suggests a new structure for ITC #India & uses findings from http://tobaccotransformationindex.org to evaluate companies' progress toward #tobaccoharmreduction.
For more background: https://bit.ly/3dNCBNR
Homepage | GSTHR Online Event A MUST watch event and no doubt, a vital addition to those committed to #endsmoking and supporting #tobacco harm reduction @SmokeFreeFdn @GerryStimson https://events.gsthr.org/
Lack of ambition to accelerate #smokingcessation and #harmreduction means more deaths and disease. On @RegWatchCanada Derek Yach (@swimdaily) talks about how the http://TobaccoTransformationIndex.org provides stakeholders info to drive change in the tobacco industry. https://regwat.ch/3iykuMt
.@EliseAce, founder & president of @GTNF2020, joins Derek Yach (@swimdaily) on the Global Health Perspectives podcast. Elise & Derek unpack some of the highlights from this year’s virtual GTNF & discuss the value of creating a space for open dialogue: https://bit.ly/2FBHgWo
.@cochranecollab is recognized globally for its high-quality health research. Their latest review shows that #ecigarettes are 70% more effective in helping smokers quit than other #nicotine replacement therapies. Click here to read @ASH_LDN's summary: https://bit.ly/33ZicBX
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