Subscribe to our YouTube channel: 


Nancy: Hi, team. Nancy Loucas here from CAPHRA. The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates. I was asked to give my thoughts on what I envisioned for the upcoming year 2023 for the region and I guess globally as well. I've been thinking about this. What I envision for Asia Pacific in 2023 is we're going to see a sea change. Right now, we have countries that are deliberating and developing regulations for safer nicotine products. The Philippines, as everyone knows, has already legalized and is now developing the regulatory framework. Malaysia, they've had an election. The President is pro harm reduction. So we expect to see something moving and done there by the end of the year. Indonesia is developing their regulatory framework. And even in Thailand, people are having discussions now about how to proceed because the ban is just not working. Australia remains the outlier. We don't know what's going to happen. There are some rumblings that they may, in fact, acknowledge that they need to have a consumer regulatory framework because they've already admitted that the medical model is not working. So I see a lot of changes. I see a lot of positivity in the Asia Pacific region. Now, globally, that's a different story. I don't know how to perceive what is going on there and what is going to happen. I'm not a genie. I wish I was. I'm hoping that because this is a copier, I'm hoping that the advocates and the organizations throughout the world step up and make their voices louder, because I think that's what needs to happen. I think these people need to realize we are people and we need to humanize this and we need to remind them that they work for us. So that's my summary of 2023. Whether I'm right or not, time will tell. But until then, thank you for the opportunity.

Colin: Well, Australian policy is in urgent need of reform. Australia is the only Western country where adult smokers need a prescription to legally access nicotine. Now, even the government has admitted that this model isn't working, and over 90% of adult vapers don't have a prescription. And this has created a flourishing black market which sells dodgy, unregulated products to adults and young people, just as we predicted it would. It's easier to buy deadly cigarettes in Australia than the far safer alternative, which is crazy. So my hope is for the pro and antivaping groups to come together in good faith to create a less restrictive consumer model so adults vapers can easily access nicotine liquid, which is affordable, attractive, and accessible without a prescription. I think a well functioning, regulated legal market will reduce the black market and reduce sales to young people. So I think that will follow. But both sides will need to make some concessions and compromises. But there is an enormous public health benefit at stake. Yes. Look, we know the wheels turn very slowly with harm reduction laws. There's a lot of opposition in Australia to tobacco harm reduction, much of it based not on the evidence, but on misinformation ideology, politics and vested interests. The main barrier to change is the panic about youth vaping, although the uptake and the harms are exaggerated. But any solution needs to actively address this. But the evidence of vaping is getting stronger and stronger and harder to deny. And I think we can achieve change if we follow the science and if both sides of the debate are willing to find a middle ground for the benefit of public health. But given the level of opposition, I doubt this will happen next year.