Experts at an event Sunday urged policymakers to incorporate a tobacco harm reduction (THR) strategy into their tobacco control plans and establish safer alternatives such as vaping products.
To commemorate World Vape Day 2022, Voice of Vapers Bangladesh organised the panel discussion "The Need for a Tobacco Harm Reduction Strategy: Achieving the Government's Health Agenda and Revenue Ambitions" in Dhaka.
Dr Delon Human, president of Health Diplomats and an expert on harm reduction, said: "To achieve a tobacco-free Bangladesh by 2040, there needs to be a credible harm reduction strategy as practised by many developed countries. The authorities must consider regulating safer alternatives such as vaping and make them accessible to smokers wanting to quit."
Dr Altamash Mahmood, core faculty member (public health nutrition) at the Bangladesh Open University, said: "Cigarettes are harmful, but nicotine is not. This is because smoking involves combustion that creates tar and other toxicants. Vaping only heats the liquid to create vapour to deliver nicotine. It does not induce second-hand smoking."
Schumann Zaman, president of Bangladesh Electronic Nicotine Systems Traders Association, talked about how vaping can help the government achieve its health agenda along with its revenue ambitions.
"We need to capitalise on this by regulating the vaping industry; ensuring that the right products brought through the right channels are made accessible. This can only be achieved if a THR strategy is adopted, curated for adult smokers looking to quit, along with the enactment of sensible regulations."