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What exactly is Voices4Vape and why it is important for consumers to participate in public health policy

Consumer groups in the Asia-Pacific are holding a webinar on 26 September 2020 to encourage countries in the region to acknowledge tobacco harm reduction (THR) as a human right and discuss the merits of smoke-free nicotine products as much safer alternatives to cigarettes.

There is much power in the consumer experience that needs to be shared globally and that was one of the main reasons that CAPHRA decided to go ahead and hold our own webinar, to educate and engage with our fellow comrades in arms, because knowledge is power and should be shared.

The Voices4Vape webinar is the first Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) event organized by consumers for consumers.  As most know in the THR community health experts estimate that the smoking epidemic claims the lives of 20,000 people a day because of the toxicants found in tobacco smoke.  In Asia Pacific alone, the estimate is 5 million people per year will die from the use of combustible tobacco.

The online conference at that will run from 4pm to 8pm HK (GMT +8) is open to all and has free registration. Initiated by the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA), the webinar will bring together public health policy experts, scientists, professionals, and consumers who believe that the right to safer alternatives is a fundamental human right.

CAPHRA is inviting consumer groups in Asia-Pacific and around the world, to join the webinar and make their voices heard.  “This is tobacco harm reduction’s first consumer-focused event, and your participation and input are valuable.  We are doing this, so we can have a say in our future,” CAPHRA said in a statement.

We also hope to see public health policy experts, tobacco controllers, and government officials attend so they can hear, first hand, about the benefits these risk reduced products have had in their countries.  Hopefully participation by this latter group will convince regulators and policymakers to give consumers a voice in the policy making process so that legislation and regulation is fair, balanced and risk proportionate.

We are not going away and we are not going to be silenced.   Harm reduction is a human right and we intend to stand up for ourselves and the millions of smokers in the Asia Pacific region to be able to make informed choices on their health and have the ability to choose to use risk reduced products in their countries.

CAPHRA have assembled some of the world’s leading experts who will bring their own experience, expertise, and unique perspectives to the discussion. Invited to share their insights are Eliana Rubashkyn, a scientist in a pharmaceutical laboratory in Auckland, chief of standards of VTANZ and a board member of UKVIA; Clive Bates, a global proponent of tobacco harm reduction who knows the inners workings of the World Health Organization (WHO); Samrat Chowdhery, president of International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organisations in India; Joey Dulay, president of the Philippine E-Cigarette Industry Association Inc and Jena Fetalino, a public relations practitioner based in Manila who has a solid background in publishing and PR.

Consumer advocacy panelists include: Stephanie Theusen, director of Stakeholder Engagement for the Progressive Public Health Alliance in Australia; Jagannath Sarangapani, an ex-smoker who switched vaping; Clarisse Yvette P. Virgino, a law school student and tobacco harm reduction advocate in the Philippines; Asa Saligupta, a THR advocate based in Thailand; and Nancy Loucas, executive coordinator of CAPHRA.

Expert panelists include Fiona Patten, a Member of Parliament for the Northern Metropolitan Region in Victoria’s Legislative Council; David Sweanor, an adjunct professor of law and chair of the advisory committee of the Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Ottawa, Canada; and Terry Barnes, an Australian policy analyst, political commentator and currently Fellow of the UK Institute of Economic Affairs.

The event will be moderated by Gavin Ryan, head of the Progressive Public Health Alliance, a  public health organization based in Victoria, Australia.

We need to unite globally as one, in order to let our voices be heard. As consenting adults, we have every right to choose the way we live our lives, including alternatives to help ourselves create a smoke-free world for all adults.

“You can register at and participate in the sessions by asking questions via the chatbox.  Participants are also encouraged to sign up for the newsletter mailing list to stay connected, take the online survey, and sign a petition that will be presented to the World Health Organization.

The petition urges the WHO to recommend to their member countries that they immediately work on introducing sensible legislation to legalize and regulate vaping as part of their obligation to tobacco harm reduction, which is a basic human right that many governments currently prohibit.

Let your voice be heard. Your personal story and your support will be part of the collective voice of the people in the Asia Pacific and around the world in demanding access to tobacco harm reduction options.  We look forward to seeing you on 26 September 2020.

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