Pakistan is a country with heavy use of tobacco. The country with more than 24 million tobacco users is also one of the top ten countries producing tobacco. Despite successes in the tobacco control efforts, Pakistan continues to witness a constant increase in the number of tobacco users.
Today the country urgently needs new efforts to help the smokers quit. There is need to look at the HRPs as part of the solution, instead of opposing them. Globally a movement for a comprehensive and collaborative efforts has been launched to use harm reduction as a tobacco control strategy, especially in the low and middle income countries.
After almost two decades of tobacco control efforts Pakistan has reached a stage where it needs to find innovative approaches to help smokers quit smoking. Critically smokers need to be at the center of innovative approaches, helping them to achieve the ultimately goal of quitting smoking.
Pakistan Alliance for Nicotine and Tobacco Harm Reduction (PANTHR) is an initiative aimed at promoting alternative solutions for smoking cessation, including the harm reduction products (HRPs). Overwhelming evidence points towards HRPs as game changers for smokers trying to quit. Smoking rates have come down in countries where smokers started using HRPs, including the UK, Japan and Sweden.
While remaining committed to and supporting tobacco control efforts in Pakistan, especially Article 14 of FCTC, the alliance will serve as a platform for advocating and promoting the use of innovative alternatives such as safe nicotine delivery systems and harm reduction.
Further, the alliance will serve as repository of research and scientific work and initiatives on safe nicotine delivery systems and harm reduction for tobacco control. It will review and disseminate credible information on harm reduction products.
PANTHR will work with the policy makers, partners, and smokers in making Pakistan smoke free. Your support will be critical in ensuring that Pakistan adopts policies and takes initiatives to help smokers in quitting smoking.