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88% of smokers look at alternatives — survey

Eighty-eight percent or nearly nine of 10 adult smokers would consider switching to smoke-free alternatives such as electronic cigarettes and heated tobacco products, according to a study conducted by an Asian research network.

Results of the study, conducted by ACORN Marketing & Research Consultants and commissioned by consumer advocacy group Vapers PH, show that 70 percent of 2,000 respondents believe that e-cigarettes and HTPs are better alternatives to cigarettes.

“The results of this survey come at a crucial time when the Senate is deliberating on the Vaporized Nicotine Products Bill. We hope that our senators will listen to the voice of Filipino smokers and vapers when we call on them to pass the VNP bill to encourage smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives to cigarettes,” said Peter Paul Dator, president of Vapers PH, a vaping advocacy group in the country.

The Senate is deliberating on Senate Bill No. 2239, or the Vaporized Nicotine Products Regulation Act, which empowers the government to regulate the importation, manufacture, sale, packaging, distribution, use and consumption of vapor (e-cigarettes) and heated tobacco products.

About a million former Filipino smokers have already switched to novel smoke-free products such as electronic cigarettes and HTPs which, according to several scientific studies are less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Studies show that it is the smoke from combustion that releases harmful substances to the body, and not nicotine, which is a food-grade substance.

The Senate bill promotes a balanced policy toward the proper regulation of novel consumer products, using internationally-accepted product standards to protect citizens from the hazards of unregulated and substandard vapor and heated tobacco products being sold in the market.

The House of Representatives earlier approved its own version of the measure—House Bill No. 9007 or the “Non-Combustible Nicotine Delivery Systems Regulation Act” which seeks to reflect a public health strategy based on the principle of tobacco harm reduction.

According to the study, 90 percent of Filipino smokers and nicotine users want the government to come up with new ways to reduce the harm caused by smoking cigarettes.

It confirms the wide public support for tobacco harm reduction, or the public health strategy that supports the use of less harmful alternatives to combustible cigarettes such as e-cigarettes, HTPs and other smoke-free products.

“Majority have positive perception, would consider switching to e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, and would like to have greater access to accurate information about these products,” the ACORN study says.

It says 94 percent of respondents agree that the government should enact policies to encourage adult smokers to switch to less harmful alternatives to cigarettes, while also ensuring these products are not used by the youth or those below 18 years.

ACORN is the largest independent Asian research network with full-service offices in 11 Asian countries, including the Philippines. It conducted the survey about the attitudes of Filipino tobacco and nicotine consumers from August 3 to 15, 2021, with a sample size of 2,000 legal-age smokers (above 18) and vapers (above 21) nationwide.

Topics: adult smokers , smoke-free alternatives , electronic cigarettes , heated tobacco products , ACORN Marketing & Research Consultants
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