Harm reduction should not stop with things related to substance abuse.
“We are convincing our patients to stop smoking. But if our patients cannot quit, we advise them to at least consider shifting to a non-combustible nicotine delivery system, rather than continue smoking cigarettes and see our patients die of oral cancer,” said Dr. Fernando Fernandez, a member and former president of the group, during the Scientific Conversations on Tobacco Harm Reduction.
He referred to smoke-free nicotine devices such as electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products, and his statement was even mentioned during a recent Senate hearing pertaining to vape and heated tobacco products’ regulations.
The Harm Reduction Alliance of the Philippines
Earlier this year, a number of local groups which advocate for the implementation of harm reduction strategies within society, have joined forces and formed the Harm Reduction Alliance of the Philippines (HARAP).
The aim of the organization is promoting and campaigning to the Philippine government with regards to the adoption of harm reduction strategies. “It refers to a range of practical strategies aimed at lessening the negative social and physical consequences associated with particularly risky human behaviors,” said Prof. Ron Christian Sison, Lead Convenor of HARAP, in explaining what harm reduction is.
He added that harm reduction does not stop with things related to substance use. “We engage in harm reduction in our everyday lives to minimize a risk, such as wearing a helmet when riding a bike, fastening our seatbelt when riding a vehicle, and using a condom when having sex, among others,” said Sison.
House Bill 9007
Last May, the House of Representatives for the Republic of the Philippines passed the Non-Combustible Nicotine Delivery Systems Regulation Act also known as House Bill 9007, aimed at regulating the sale and manufacture of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. Co-authored by 154 in the 300-man chamber for the House, the bill aims to prevent sales to minors.
President of consumer group Vapers PH and CAPHRA member, Peter Dator, describes the bill as a massive turn around from the previous prohibitory approach and proposed ban, and hopes the Senate will pass the legislation by this month.
Read Further: The Manila Times