According to Burning Issues, a report dubbed “The Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR) 2020, there are only nine safe nicotine product users for every 100 smokers globally, mainly in high-income countries.
Burning Issues says overall, 98 million people are estimated to use safer nicotine products worldwide. Of those, 68 million are vapers, with the largest vaping populations in the US, China, the Russian Federation, the UK, France, Japan, Germany, and Mexico.
20 million of the people globally are heated tobacco product users; with most of them being in Japan, where cigarette sales have dropped by 32 percent since 2016 when HTP was launched. 10 million are US smokeless or snus users.
“Our data shows that, worldwide, millions of people are choosing to improve their own health by switching from combustible tobacco. But this needs to scale up, fast. Tobacco harm reduction should become a genuine consumer-led public health success. But instead, we are seeing the start of a war on nicotine,” said Harry Shapiro, Executive Editor of Burning Issues.
Official monitoring of safe nicotine product use is currently limited – yet is essential to understand their impact and potential in tackling smoking-related death and disease.
The global public health crisis of smoking is ongoing and deadly. 1.1 billion people smoke worldwide, a figure that has remained unchanged for two decades despite billions spent by governments and the World Health Organization (WHO) on tobacco control.
80 percent of the world’s smokers live in low and middle-income countries (LMIC), and eight million people die due to smoking-related diseases every year. The WHO estimates that one billion people will die of smoking-related disease by 2100.
“Given that over 80 percent of tobacco users are in low- and middle-income countries with meager means to deal with tobacco-related consequences, the focus ought to be unwaveringly on harm prevention, by allowing people to exercise the choice of avoiding death and disease by switching to affordable and accessible risk-reduced alternatives,” said Samrat Chowdhery, President of The International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organizations, Director of the Association of Vapers India, and vaping consumer.
Burning Issues identifies the extent to which tobacco control policy both at the WHO and in individual nation-states is being influenced by billions of dollars from US foundations that are actively supporting campaigns against tobacco harm reduction.
In countries such as the UK and the US where tobacco harm reduction already has a foothold, misinformation, and manufactured moral panics about SNP’s risks are impacting confidence – discouraging smokers from making the switch.
Tobacco harm reduction supports people to quit smoking by using safer nicotine products (SNP) including vaping devices (e-cigarettes), heated tobacco products (HTP), and pasteurized oral snus, improving health and reducing deaths by enabling people to use nicotine without the smoke that causes disease.