As 2018 ends, let’s take stock of whether we are making real progress in ending smoking. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that there are still more than 1 billion smokers in the world today, and more than 7 million lives are prematurely claimed by smoking-related cancer, heart disease, and lung disease. Combustible cigarettes and certain forms of toxic smokeless tobacco products together remain the largest preventable cause of premature deaths globally. The stakes remain unacceptably high.
Market-led solutions, driven by the demand of smokers for reduced-harm products or better ways to quit, have made headlines this year. My favorites are the following:
Some governments have made notable progress; for example, the United Kingdom has greatly improved the regulation of reduced-harm products. However, many international bodies actively shun tobacco harm reduction, which is a key element of overall tobacco control. Below are a few examples of actions against harm reduction.
The highest quit rate attributed to current pharmaceutical cessation treatments after 1 year is <25%. In fact, WHO indicated that pharmacological nicotine-replacement therapy, alone or combined with other prescription cessation medications, increases quit rates by only about 7%. Moreover, the pipeline for new therapies is virtually empty, and no new products are expected within 5-10 years. There surely is room for improvement.
Consumers demand change and a longer and healthier life. Evolving technologies can lower health risks significantly. Governments need to act more forcefully in the interest of smokers; not cower before opposition to harm reduction. Millions of lives are at stake.
As we enter a new year, let’s redouble our efforts to end smoking faster.
Mission is to eliminate smoking worldwide by supporting cessation & harm reduction #research, and transitioning tobacco #farmers to alternative livelihoods.
Emerging scientific evidence supporting the use of e-cigarettes to aide in harm reduction continues to be a topic of debate. Adding clarity to the emotional discourse as presented by @sciencemagazine is a step in the right direction. http://bit.ly/2PFJeGf
. @Avesthagen, a systems biology life sciences company, just announced the acceleration of its Avestagenome Project. Their research focuses on the Indian & Parsi communities to understand the role of smoking in developing lung, oral & esophageal cancers: https://prn.to/35jgPwc
Sub-Saharan African countries have become home to five of the top tobacco producing countries, including #Malawi where tobacco exports contributed to 59% of total merchandise export earnings. Read about the impact on local economies and trade shifts. http://bit.ly/2NytTpP
Congratulations to ATI advisory board member & @StellenboschUni Prof. Umezuruike Linus Opara for being named one of the 2019 Highly Cited Researchers from the @webofscience Group. Learn more on Prof. Linus Opara here: http://bit.ly/2t6Hiz5
As the year draws to a close, we invite you to hear from the researchers working to end smoking in this generation. Watch the video to learn about projects that range from harm reduction among indigenous people to innovation in smoking cessation treatment. http://bit.ly/33hyBOW
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