PUBLIC health experts and consumer groups from Asia-Pacific called on the Philippine government to impose risk-proportionate regulation on safer nicotine products such as electronic cigarettes, heat-not-burn tobacco and Swedish snus to encourage Filipinos to switch from smoking cigarettes.
“We call on the government of the Philippines to allow its citizens to have access to safer alternatives to cigarettes through risk-proportionate regulation of safer nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn tobacco and snus,” the Seoul Declaration that was signed by experts and consumer groups last August 29 said.
Hundreds of experts and consumers from 18 countries gathered at Glad Hotel Yeouido in Seoul, South Korea to attend the 3rd Asia Harm Reduction Forum that was jointly organized by the Korea Harm Reduction Association and Yayasan Pemerhati Kesehatan Publik Indonesia.
Nancy Sutthoff, the executive coordinator of the Coalition of Asia Pacific Harm Reduction Advocates, said the Seoul Declaration is a consumer declaration calling on the governments of Thailand, India and the Philippines to address their planned ban or restrictive policies on tobacco harm reduction products such as e-cigarettes, HNB devices and snus.
“We decided to do a Seoul Declaration to address these issues and get as many signatures as we can from consumers and experts in the region so that these declarations can be hand-delivered to those respective governments,” said Sutthoff.
“In the Philippines, it is not about a ban but about restrictive regulation. In India and Thailand, it is about reversing bans or preventing bans from happening. Right now, in
India, within 10 days, they are supposed to ban everything nationwide. In Thailand, there are discussions about lifting the ban for only tourists because they are losing tourism dollars,” Sutthoff said.
The Seoul Declaration urged the Philippine government to “realize that smoking causes the vast majority of tobacco-related death and diseases.