AdvocacyPress Release

AVCA – Rights and responsibilities

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An individual’s right to health is recognized as a fundamental international human right. Founded upon the non-negotiable right to life, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) affirms that “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including … medical care and necessary social services….”21 With appropriate regulation, you can help thousands of vapers and tens of millions of smokers in Asia Pacific, by simply telling them the truth: although the best option is not using any nicotine-containing products, switching to a regulated vape product is better than continuing to smoke.

Realise that smoking causes the vast majority of tobacco‐related death and disease. Burning tobacco is the main cause of smoking-related disease, not nicotine or inhaling vapour. Tobacco use causes one million deaths per year in the Asia Pacific Region and smoking causes the majority. E-cigarettes provide smokers with an option to get away from smoking and could hasten the demise of the cigarette. We should all want to see that.

Recognise that vaping is dramatically safer than cigarettes and has helped millions quit smoking. Vaping is not smoking. It uses electronic devices to generate a nicotine-containing vapour without burning tobacco. Public Health England’s annual reviews of all available evidence have consistently concluded that e-cigarettes are around 95% less harmful than smoking. Millions of people have switched from cigarettes to these significantly safer products. Governments charged with protecting public health should welcome that, not discourage it.

Recall that harm reduction is at the core of international treaty obligations. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control defines ‘tobacco control’ as ‘a range of supply, demand and harm reduction strategies that aim to improve the health of a population’. Regulate rather than a ban. Bans serve only to protect the cigarette industry. Concerns that vaping may appeal to youth or may serve as a ‘gateway’ to smoking are inconsistent with the evidence: E-cigarettes have been gateways out of smoking for millions and have been accompanied by declining youth smoking rates. Instead of banning them, governments should regulate e-cigarettes to maximise the benefits of low-risk alternatives while minimising the likelihood they will be used by youth or non-smokers.

Rethink dogma. Safer products should be encouraged, not attacked with the same vehemence as cigarettes or, worse, banned. Smokers’ health and the Government’s credibility is at stake: New Zealand should avoid being perceived as promoting the interests of cigarette and pharmaceutical industries, and smokers should not be forced to choose between deadly cigarettes and marginally effective nicotine replacement therapies.

Information by Nancy Loucas
Nancy comes from a diverse administrative background that includes surgical research administration, teaching (primary and tertiary level), executive administration and community property management. For over 15 years she has been very active in community advocacy with youth, lower-income folk needing advocacy and now, vaping advocacy. She brings a wealth of scientific, medical and research administrative/management knowledge with her to her role as CEO/Director at AVCA.

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