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CAPHRA Calls for Honest Debate on Tobacco Harm Reduction 

The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) is calling for a more honest and transparent debate on tobacco harm reduction (THR) following the recent Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) 2024.  

“The forum highlighted significant concerns about the World Health Organization’s (WHO) stance on THR, with experts and consumer advocates urging for a shift in the global narrative to save lives,” said Nancy Loucas, Executive Coordinator of CAPHRA. 

The GFN 2024, held in Warsaw, brought together leading scientists, policymakers, and consumer advocates to discuss the future of safer nicotine products. A key session focused on the role of consumer advocates in promoting science-based communication and harm reduction strategies. The session underscored the need for consumer voices to be heard in regulatory debates, emphasising the principle of “nothing about us without us”. 

Dr. Colin Mendelsohn, a prominent figure in the field of tobacco harm reduction, was honoured with the Michael Russell Award for 2024. In his thought-provoking acceptance speech, Dr. Mendelsohn criticised the WHO for its outdated and obstructive policies on THR. He highlighted the organisation’s failure to embrace scientifically backed harm reduction strategies, which could significantly reduce the global burden of smoking-related diseases. 

WHO’s Waning Credibility 

The consensus at GFN 2024 was clear: the WHO is losing ground and integrity on the issue of tobacco harm reduction.  

“Despite overwhelming evidence supporting the efficacy and relative safety of safer nicotine products, the WHO continues to promote prohibitionist policies that hinder access to these life-saving alternatives,” said Ms Loucas, adding “This stance not only undermines public health efforts but also perpetuates the suffering of millions of smokers worldwide who are unable or unwilling to quit.” 

CAPHRA’s Call to Action 

CAPHRA is urging the WHO and global health authorities to engage in an honest and open debate about tobacco harm reduction. The organisation calls for: 

  1. Recognition of Scientific Evidence: Acknowledging the substantial body of research demonstrating the reduced harm of non-combustible nicotine products compared to traditional cigarettes. 
  2. Consumer Involvement: Ensuring that the voices of consumers, particularly those who have successfully transitioned to safer alternatives, are included in policy discussions. 
  3. Balanced Regulation: Implementing proportionate regulations that facilitate access to safer nicotine products while protecting public health. 

“The time for change is now. CAPHRA stands with the global community of harm reduction advocates in demanding a more honest and evidence-based approach to tobacco control. The lives of millions depend on it,” Ms Loucas said. 


Nancy Loucas,  

Executive Coordinator CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates)  

Mobile: +64272348643  

Email: [email protected]



  • CAPHRA remains committed to advocating for the rights of consumers in the Asia-Pacific region to access and use evidence-based, regulated, and properly marketed harm reduction products as a means of reducing the devastating impact of smoking-related diseases. We encourage further research, open dialogue, and collaboration with governments, health organisations, and stakeholders to ensure the best possible outcomes for public health.  
  • The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Advocates (CAPHRA) is a regional alliance of consumer tobacco harm reduction advocacy organisations. Its mission is to educate, advocate and represent the right of adult alternative nicotine consumers to access and use of products that reduce harm from tobacco use. DISCLAIMER
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