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Worldwide Anti-Smoking Policies Charted in Comprehensive Index

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We Are Innovation, a leading global innovation network, released the 2024 Effective Anti-Smoking Policies Global Index (https://antismoking.global/). The index assesses around 5.5 billion people, nearly 70 percent of the world's population. It offers an analysis of the public policies to eradicate smoking in 69 countries across four regions. The Index delves into the intricacies of alternative nicotine products, scrutinizing aspects such as regulatory frameworks, prohibitions, taxation, and governmental measures for switching from smoking.

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The top 20 countries in the global anti-smoking index, led by the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Slovakia in the podium positions, collectively impact almost 1 billion people worldwide. European nations dominate the list, with 15 out of the 20 spots occupied by countries from this region. However, non-European nations like the United States, Lebanon, New Zealand, Canada, and Saudi Arabia also make significant strides in terms of regulations.

The index emphasizes the urgent need for global advancements in anti-smoking policies. Finding a balance between traditional measures and innovative approaches, including alternative nicotine products, is key to success. The Index calls for a holistic approach encompassing alternative products to address the gaps in regulation.

Global policies differ radically in receptiveness, with vaping facing sales bans despite growing evidence on its harm reduction. Thus, seventeen countries have prohibited vaping. Tobacco Heated Products (THP) policies show similar regional bifurcation patterns. Thirteen countries prohibit THP, mostly in South America and Asia. Snus faces widespread prohibitions in the European Union, except in Sweden. China with bans on THP and nicotine pouches and heavy restriction of vaping and snus scored 51st place. India scored last globally for completely prohibiting all nicotine alternatives. In addition to forgoing harm reduction benefits, the blanket ban fuels illicit trade.

In the Americas, Canada and the United States are open to vaping and other alternatives, while many Latin American countries ban them. New Zealand leads in vaping in the Asia Pacific, while Australia, India, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam have banned it. Japan, however, is the frontrunner for THP and snus.

In the MENA region, only Lebanon and Saudi Arabia have progressive harm reduction stances, while other countries prohibit alternatives. Nicotine pouches have avoided significant regulatory scrutiny, but their potential depends on recognition for health merits outside of the EU and US.

“With over 8 million lives lost annually to smoking-related diseases, the need for effective anti-smoking measures is more urgent than ever. Nations like Sweden and New Zealand are leading the way by embracing innovative nicotine products in the fight against smoking. Their public policies allowing alternatives have yielded remarkable results, with smoking rates around 5 percent - nearly smoke-free. This success highlights the vital role innovation must play in consigning smoking to history. Policymakers worldwide must follow the example set by these countries, fully harnessing safer products to uproot smoking's toll on global health,” stated Federico N. Fernandez, the CEO of We Are Innovation.

ABOUT WE ARE INNOVATION

We Are Innovation is a dynamic network of individuals and institutions who fervently believe in the power of innovation to drive progress and solve the world’s most pressing problems. With a global presence encompassing over 40 think tanks, foundations, and NGOs, We Are Innovation represents the diverse voices of a global civil society committed to advancing human creativity, embracing new technologies, and promoting innovative solutions. Through our collaborative approach and cutting-edge expertise, we are spearheading transformative change on a global scale. To learn more visit us at https://weareinnovation.global/.

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