WHY AFFORDABLE SAFER ALTERNATIVES FOR POOR SMOKERS IS A HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE

Tobacco harm reduction interventions are facilitative rather than coercive, and are grounded in the needs of individuals. The objective of harm reduction in a specific context can often be arranged in a hierarchy with the more feasible options at one end (e.g. measures to keep people healthy) and less feasible but desirable options at the other end. Abstinence can be considered a difficult to achieve but desirable option for harm reduction in such a hierarchy. Keeping people who smoke alive and preventing irreparable damage is regarded as the most urgent priority while it is acknowledged that there may be many other important priorities.

The current approach to global tobacco control fuels widespread human rights violations against people who smoke. Human rights apply to everyone. People who smoke do not forfeit their human rights, including the right to the highest attainable standard of health. Harm reduction opposes the deliberate hurts and harms inflicted on people who smoke cigarettes in the name of tobacco control and drug prevention, and promotes responses to nicotine addiction that respect and protect fundamental human rights.I was so disappointed to see India banning e-cigarettes , leaving millions of smokers without the option of safer alternatives ! What does that do ?

In order to tackle harmful effects of smoking in the developing countries , more so Africa, Snus and vaping products should be made available and affordable.The costs of vaping should be reduced for smokers in developing countries as an urgent human rights issue. It has already been established that these products are safer and less harmful; they should be made available to smokers in Asia and Africa . The smoker has a right to accurate information, which can be life saving.It’s as simple as that.The problem with many governments is that they do not understand nicotine. Vaping products should not be taxed as highly as cigarettes , they are not the same.People in poor countries should not be priced out of nicotine-based products that could potentially help them to quit smoking. In Kenya for example,an e cigarettes retails at an average price of 30$ , making it less affordable to the common smoker. This is due to the high taxation on e cigarettes. Subjecting e-cigarettes to the same workplace restrictions as smoking could be viewed as an infringement of an individual’s human rights.

We should always remember that as this activity continues, millions continue to die while solutions remain available . 7 million lives every year and growing ..