A webinar organised by Bangladesh-based organisation ‘Voices of Vapers’ discusses the evidence on the efficacy of tobacco harm reduction products like e-cigarettes.
The case studies clearly indicate that vapes are at least “95 percent safer” than combustible tobacco products, and “twice as effective as traditional nicotine replacement therapies.”
The speakers included Director of the World Vapers’ Alliance, Michael Landl, Shahriar Arifin, DGM, Marketing, Unimed Unihealth Pharmaceuticals, Dr Rajib Joarder, Health Service Management and Policy Making, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Schumann Zaman, President of Bangladesh Electronic Nicotine Delivery System Traders Association (BENDSTA).
They presented findings of a recently released white paper containing case studies related to vaping carried out in four countries, and answered questions from the audience who joined the live session. In line with statements by established health agencies such as Public Health England, the case studies clearly indicate that vapes are at least “95 percent safer” than combustible tobacco products, and “twice as effective as traditional nicotine replacement therapies.”
The paper highlighted that data from countries where these findings are considered and incorporated in local regulations, reflect the benefits of the products. “Countries that embrace vaping, such as France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada have witnessed a decrease in smoking rates that is twice as fast as the global average,” the paper noted.
Michael Landl emphasized the difference that such a change in approach could make. “Progressive countries are implementing vaping regulations. If Bangladesh implements the regulation for vaping, it could be 6 million people who could switch to vaping than smoking cigarettes as per our calculation,” said Landl.
“Vapes are at least 95% safer than the traditional combustible tobacco, according to the Public Health England. It’s not the nicotine that kills people, but it’s the tar from smoking, the speakers said while replying questions.”, he added.
Most vapers use e-cigs to quit smoking
Meanwhile, a small-scale focus group study by the locally-based Dhaka Ahsania Mission, recommended a total vape ban despite finding that most of the participants took up vaping to help them quit smoking.
Carried out between January and February 2020, the survey consisted of three focus group discussions with students from two universities: Dhaka University and North South University. All students were regular vapers, and most reported preferring open system vapes that have refill tanks.
The compiled data indicated that “most of the [[participants] believed that there weren’t enough scientific studies showing e-cigarettes as harmful.” A total of 65% said they started vaping because of how they taste, and many said that vaping helped them quit cigarette smoking. Despite this, the research team recommended a “comprehensive ban” on vaping to “[safeguard] health and safety of youth and future generation.”
Bangladesh needs to take action to become tobacco-free-by-2040 target
Earlier this year, anti-tobacco campaigners said that a sharp turn and strong actions are required if Bangladesh is to achieve its set target of becoming tobacco-free by-2040-target. Bangladesh was the first developing country to sign the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2003. Two years later, in 2005, the government had passed the Tobacco Products (Control) Act in 2005, which was revised and amended in 2013.
Sadly following in the footsteps of neighbouring India, in 2019, a Bangladeshi health official had announced a plan to prohibit the sale and use of vaping products and other electronic cigarettes. The ban was to be incorporated in the new tobacco control policy, currently being drawn up by the government, said the official at the time.