May 18: An Asia-Pacific consumer advocacy group on Sunday supported the petition asking the Taiwanese government to recognise tobacco harm reduction as a human right in line with the goal for Smoke-Free Taiwan 2040. In a statement, the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) said it is supporting the initiative of Taiwan Tobacco Harm Reduction Association (TTHRA) which filed a petition calling upon the government of Taiwan to allow tobacco harm reduction products as part of the key strategy for tobacco control.
Tobacco harm reduction is a public health strategy that aims to provide alternatives to reduce risks caused by smoking cigarettes. Such alternatives include innovative technology-aided electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) or e-cigarettes, Swedish snus, and heat-not-burn tobacco products. Nancy Loucas, the executive coordinator of CAPHRA, said that no less than the World Health Organisation Western Pacific Region Office (WHO-WPRO) recommended that countries regulate vaping to protect public health. "This aligns with the WHO declaration that health is a fundamental human right and that individuals should be given the right to determine their right to advance and protect their own well-being," Loucas said.
CAPHRA is a regional association that supports national organisations promoting tobacco harm reduction such as TTHRA and Vapers Philippines. TTHRA, representing Taiwan, is a member of CAPHRA and works with the European Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (ETHRA), the Korea Harm Reduction Association (KHRA) and Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association (ATHRA) by introducing international THR information into Taiwan with the hope of using the THR strategy to strengthen the specific actions of tobacco control mechanism in Taiwan. Loucas said, "the refusal of the government of Taiwan to recognize the concept of tobacco harm reduction, including the use of ENDS in the fight against tobacco harm, goes against both of these declarations by WHO and puts the people of Taiwan at a disadvantage in making selfdetermination decisions around their health."(UNI)