Written by Jackie (Ivanna) Awrey – Director – THRA Canada and Jaye Blancher – Director – THRA Canada
Here in Canada, while we identify the need to “think of the children.” Canada still has 450,000 smokers who are being misinformed about safer nicotine products. Part of this context should include the acknowledgement of parents, and adults who vape as a quit smoking alternative. Who demonstrate to our youth that harm reduction plays a large role in reducing smoking rates. The Quit or Die mentality of anti-smoking organizations who fail to see the benefits of technology advancements, vaping products and other safer nicotine choices (Heat not burn, Snus) ends up harming the smoker, and stigmatizing the vaper. Canada sadly, tends to follow messages coming out from the USA, who depends so heavily on the Master Settlement Tobacco Agreement (MSA). Who pushes an abstinence only agenda. Meanwhile, States profit off MSA payments, they profit off death! It’s a constant battle of debunking the myths, and fear mongering media and altered information put out by the CDC and other similar USA organizations.
Many of Canada’s aboriginal persons as well as the general public are being misinformed by the media and false messages being put out by the WHO, and other Tobacco Control groups about vaping and other THR products. All citizens of Canada should have to right to quit smoking, using whatever method works for them. For thousands in Canada, vaping products have offered them just that, smoke-free freedom. All thanks to vaping products and other safer nicotine choices. Consumers educating consumers about these safer, smoke-free THR products, have also created small businesses in Canada.
The abstinence only Tobacco Control approach, not only fails to help smokers, it also, fails society. It fails our youth. Many harm reduction alternatives, from condoms to safe needle injection sites, are recognized in Canada as having helped thousands of people, avoid the harms and death associated with risky behaviours. It is time the world, along with Canada, acknowledges safer nicotine alternatives as one further step to a smoke-free society. The Quit or Die mentality of misguided regulations, only harms Canadian citizens, and continues to lead the smoker down a path of premature death. The Tobacco Harm Reduction approach recognizes that smokers who are unable, or unwilling to quit smoking, need the ability to make safer nicotine choices to protect the health of themselves and their families, as well as their communities. Safer nicotine choices need to be acknowledged, supported and promoted and made cost effective for all who need to obtain them, across the globe. Harm reduction is about making safer choices to reduce harms, it is and should be a human right.
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