The Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA) and global health experts have dismissed as "naïve" and "harmful" a report published by a regional lobby group about the so-called youth epidemic in a bid to undermine scientific evidence in favor of reduced-risk products.

Nancy Loucas, Executive Director of CAPHRA, described the report entitled "Today''s Teens, Tomorrow's Customers" as a product of perception by a group that is funded by industry, including pharmaceutical interests that "justifies its existence by creating a youth ''epidemic'' in order to remain relevant."

Loucas said the report published by Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) for World No Tobacco Day could no longer deny the truth about the effectiveness of tobacco harm reduction and reduced-risk products such as e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn tobacco products and snus in making smokers switch. The report argued that "banning the manufacture, importation, promotion, distribution, sale and use of these products is still the most comprehensive approach" to regulating e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn tobacco products.

Loucas said SEATCA''s argument that "e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products are being used to entice youth to take up vaping and potentially smoking" is the opposite of what happens in different countries when smoking rates are on the decline.

She said that even the World Health Organization (WHO), after months of demonizing tobacco harm reduction and reduced-risk products, has recently come out with a theme report on World Vape Day stating that, "while it is expected that use of EN & NNDS [electronic nicotine and non-nicotine delivery systems] in these groups might increase their health risks, non-pregnant adult smokers who completely and promptly switch from combustible tobacco cigarettes to use of unadulterated and appropriately regulated EN & NNDS alone might reduce their health risks."

"The most interesting point in the WHO theme report is that WHO also expended a lot of space on the scientific knowledge of e-cigarettes, with a view to the public having more knowledge about e-cigarettes. The very same public knowledge held by the consumers of CAPHRA''s member organizations, who are shut out of any discussion around tobacco control and harm reduction with their own governments," Loucas said.