Delon Human’s FCTC COP10 Insights – Day 4
After several days of delegations setting out their stalls, it was my hope that the parties to the FCTC would see sense and talk about the importance of tobacco harm reduction in any strategy aimed at reducing smoking. So it was on day 4 of COP10.
The New Zealand delegation clearly and unambiguously declared that the low smoking prevalence in New Zealand (6,8% of adults) is attributable to its policy combination of harm reduction and traditional tobacco control. Though not as low as the smoking rate of Sweden, another country which combines THR and tobacco control with excellent effect, New Zealand is a recent innovator in this space and has made significant strides in the past five years.
Likewise, the Philippine delegation highlighted the fact that the FCTC article 1(d) calls for harm reduction strategies to be examined and employed to decrease the burden of combustible tobacco products. Both delegations should be commended for this outbreak of responsible policymaking.
In stark contrast, the Mexican delegation claimed in a media interview that harm reduction could not be regarded as part of public health.
Yet it is our view – and the inescapable conclusion of the available evidence – that harm reduction is an integral part of public health, as basic as wearing a helmet while motorcycling, washing hands before surgical interventions or wearing a seatbelt when travelling in a car. Harm reduction is here to stay and should be employed as part of tobacco control, as part of the FCTC.