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Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA)

Updated on 30 November 2020

  • Background

The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) is an alliance of tobacco harm reduction advocates and their respective organizations in the Asia Pacific region. CAPHRA’s mission and aim is to educate, advocate and represent the right of adult alternative nicotine consumers to access and use of products that reduce harm from tobacco use.[1] CAPHRA is a member of the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organizations (INNCO), an international network promoting ENDS/HTPs which has received a grant from the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World,[2] which in turn is funded by Philip Morris International.[3] The CAPHRA Expert Advisory Group (EAG) is comprised of medical and scientific professionals and researchers from the Asia Pacific region.[4] Among their members are ENDS/HTPs supporters, such as Dr. Tikki Pangestu from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore who was a speaker at the Asia Harm Reduction Forum 2018[5] and 2019.[6]

On 26 August 2020, there was a planned webinar entitled, “FCTC – the policy and practice gap” to be chaired by Pangestu, in his position as visiting professor at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore. However, one day after the announcement the webinar it was cancelled without any explanation.[7] Sudhanshu Patwardhan, the featured main speaker of the webinar, is the co-founder of the Centre for Health Research and Education (CHRE).[8] Sudhanshu was with BAT between 2005 to February 2019. 

In September 2020, Pangestu referred positively to the US-Food and Drug Administration approval the sale of Philip Morris International’s heated tobacco product, IQOS, as a modified risk tobacco products (MRTP) in the USA as, “This is another step forward.”[9]

  • Relationship with Tobacco Industry

Besides its links with INNCO, CAPHRA does not have a direct connection with the tobacco industry, but its members have participated in activities supported by tobacco industry. For example, Nancy E. Sutthoff – the executive coordinator of CAPHRA joined the 6th Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) as a presenter, in Poland, on 13-15 June 2019.[10] GFN is funded by FSFW through the organization called, ‘Knowledge Action Change (KAC), located in London.[11] CAPHRA has members in Australia, India, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand.[12]

  • Other activities

CAPHRA launched the campaign #SmokeFree4Life or SF4L to challenge the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) claiming smokers should have access to informed choice to switch to safer alternatives.[13] The campaign is promoted on the website of pro-ENDS/HTPs network, such as factasia.org.[14] The Coalition also supports pro-ENDS/HTPs groups in Asia Pacific to organize pro-ENDS/HTPs campaigns at country level. For example, CAPHRA, on its facebook page, advertised an event, AscENDS, in the Philippines on 25 February 2020, organized by Vaper PH and Vaper AKO. The event claimed to promote “standing up for our rights to choose ENDS”.[15]  In June 2020, the Philippine representative of CAPHRA, suggested the government that prohibiting ENDS/HTPs will generate the problem to people who would like to quit smoking or switch from conventional cigarettes to ENDS/HTPs, referring to the principle of consumer’s right and human rights.[16]  

 

[1] INNCO, CAPHRA, [online] At https://innco.org/members/caphra/
[2] Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Awarded grants https://www.smokefreeworld.org/awarded-grants/
[3] TobaccoTactics, https://tobaccotactics.org/wiki/international-network-of-nicotine-consumer-organisations-innco/
[4] CAPHRA, Expert Advisory Group, [online] At https://caphraorg.net/caphra-expert-advisory-group/
[5] Asia Harm Reduction Forum, 2018, Speakers [online] At https://asiaharmreductionforum.com/pages/ahrf_speaker
[6] Asia Harm Reduction Forum, 2019, Speakers [online] At https://asiaharmreductionforum.com/pages/ahrf_speaker_2019
[7] Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, FCTC – the policy and practice gap, website, undated, accessed on November 30, 2020 https://lkyspp.nus.edu.sg/news-events/events/details/the-framework-convention-on-tobacco-control—the-policy-and-practice-gap
[8] Tobaccotactics. Centre for Health Research and Education  https://tobaccotactics.org/wiki/centre-for-health-research-and-education-chre/
[9] Tobacco harm reduction advocates call for science-based, innovative regulations, Business Mirror, September 27, 2020  https://businessmirror.com.ph/2020/09/27/tobacco-harm-reduction-advocates-call-for-science-based-innovative-regulations/
[10] https://gfn.net.co/downloads/2019/GFN2019-Reader.pdf
[11] Tobacco Tactics, Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN), [online] At https://tobaccotactics.org/index.php?title=Global_Forum_on_Nicotine
[12] CAPHRA. https://caphraorg.net/caphra-who-we-are/
[13] CAPHRA, SmokeFree4Life Campaign, [online] At https://join.caphraorg.net/smokefree4life
[14] FactAsia, SF4L, [online] at https://www.factasia.org/
[15] CAPHRA Facebook, AscENDS, [online] At https://www.facebook.com/caphraorg/photos/a.644577879309973/885161668584925/?type=3&theater
[16] Jake Cruz, Prohibitive policies on smoke-free products to hurt smokers, [online] At http://metronewscentral.net/in-and-around-the-metro/prohibitive-policies-on-smoke-free-products-to-hurt-smokers