Professor of Psychiatry at the Cairo University School of Medicine, Rania Mamdouh said on Sunday that 40 million Egyptians were reported to have used nicotine at least once throughout their lives, according to a national survey in 2019.
Mamdouh’s remarks came during a webinar to discuss the importance of adopting science-based reasons by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) to respect humanism.
The discussion ensured that the WHO FCTC needs to redefine the regulation of the sector to incorporate the new awareness of environmental and health implications and pave the way for the principle of harm reduction.
Mamdouh clarified that psychiatry has adopted harm reduction programs for 35 years now for their realistic solutions to combat addiction including opioid use disorders and cannabis use disorders.
She further added that many smokers cannot quit smoking despite their awareness of risks associated with smoking due to the addictive effect of the nicotine.
Many of the nicotine dependent people that switched to non-combustible tobacco alternatives succeeded to reach a consumption of zero nicotine within a duration varying from 12 to 18 months, according to neurobiological studies from Harvard university.
She also stressed that non-combustible smoking alternative products are less harmful yet not risk-free saying that long-term studies are required to fully determine their impact on human health just like combustible products.
President of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics of the University of Ottawa, David Sweanor described the framework as a ‘recipe’ by the WHO for how to define tobacco products neglecting what science says and the role of research and development in the progress of the process.
There are plenty of studies that prove that smoking alternative products are 80-90 percent less toxic in comparison to combustibles, which marks them as a clear solution to reducing risks associated to smoking, Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Catania, Riccardo Polosa said.
The Italian cultural and political journal Formiche hosted the webinar, which gathered public health experts, tobacco control professionals, policy makers, scientists and thought leaders.