Just three months after the passage of the ‘Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act’, colloquially known as the ‘Vape Bill’, world-renowned experts continue the push for harm reduction alternatives with the signing of ‘The Manila Declaration 2022’.
Hosting its fifth annual congregation on 28 October 2022, the Asia Harm Reduction Forum, as a non-profit and interdisciplinary organization that empowers and enjoins individuals, communities, and the government to make informed health-related decisions, provided an updated outlook on the situation of different harm reduction advocacies across the globe.
Seeking to inform the general public about the benefits of harm reduction practices for a healthier lifestyle, chief experts from various fields such as policy-making, science, business and education imparted the latest research and studies, particularly focusing on the topic of tobacco harm reduction.
At its climax, the presenters and leaders present at the forum authored The Manila Declaration 2022. They called on the World Health Organization (WHO)’s signatories and delegates of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to follow the science and evidence around tobacco harm reduction and impede the promotion of tobacco use whilst encouraging alternatives such as safer nicotine products.
It’s just one year until the WHO’s 10th FCTC Conference of Parties (COP10) in Panama. The key global meeting will see delegates discuss and make recommendations on safer nicotine products.
“The disinformation offered by WHO FCTC and its affiliates to signatory countries as ‘guidance’ is dangerous. The FCTC has failed, and continues to fail, the eight million adults who die from unsafe tobacco products annually,” says Nancy Loucas, Executive Coordinator of CAPHRA (Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates).
Providing an avenue of discussion, accessibility to information and forward-thinking legislation, the Philippines continues to lead the charge in tobacco harm reduction amid its Asian neighbours.
Among the most ardent discussions during the Asia Harm Reduction Forum 2022 was the passage of Republic Act no. 1190, otherwise known as the ‘Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act’, its succeeding implementation on a national level and its resulting effects on the consumers in the country.
Gracing the event through his pre-recorded keynote address, Surigao del Norte 2nd District Representative, Congressman Robert Ace Barbers, as one of the principal authors of the aforementioned ‘Vape Bill’, states that, “The best way to implement a harm reduction approach is to pass a law that will make this a state policy,” fully exhibiting his understanding of the value of a policy-making approach to harm reduction practices.
Meanwhile, Clarisse Virgino, Philippine representative to the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA), lauded Philippine lawmakers for forwarding harm reduction advocacies in legislation.
“The vape law introduces new possibilities for harm reduction alternatives in the country. It is just the first step towards a healthier and safer environment for all. We hope that our legislators continue to pursue different aspects of harm reduction in its constitutional mandate to protect the welfare of its citizens,” says Ms Virgino.
Proving to be at the forefront of the harm reduction industry, the Philippines continues to prove its belief in the advocacy and would only seek further measures to enhance its promotion.
To view The Manila Declaration, visit: https://caphraorg.net/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/manila-declaration-2022-signed.pdf
Nearly eight hours of forum footage is now available on the AHRF 2022 YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6o1hXi4aAak