To encourage and inspire smokers to switch to alternatives to smoking, the Association for Smoking Alternatives in Pakistan (ASAP) organized a networking and informational event to bring all stakeholders on a common platform which provided the community with an exciting opportunity to share experiences and learn about contemporary trends.
While there are various Facebook groups catering to alternative users and they serve as platforms to establish, grow and spread awareness, One Crew stands apart as Pakistan’s most active Facebook group. One Crew collaborated with ASAP in organizing this Meet which included activities, awareness sessions, discussions, experience sharing, and answers to common questions about alternatives to smoking.
Like all meets, the ASAP x One Crew meet was only open to adult smokers/ex-smokers and all underage individuals were restricted entry. Around 200 to 300 people attended the event. Many attendees gave testimonials of their experiences in quitting smoking using alternatives.
The event gave the opportunity to ex-smokers to share their experiences of switching to alternative methods to inspire others to also quit smoking. Experts talked about the misconceptions related to alternates to smoking and explained how those misconceptions prevent smokers from making the switch to quit and lamented that the silent cry for help by smokers goes largely unnoticed.
ASAP founder Mirza M Abeer stressed the importance of adopting approaches similar to developed nations such as the UK and New Zealand to counter smoking. The UK government actively advocates for the adoption and use of smoking alternatives to meet their FCTC targets and lower the number of smokers in the country.
The New Zealand government reversed its ban on vaping to meet its target of smoke-free New Zealand by 2025 supporting smokers to switch to significantly safer alternatives.