The event was comprised of four sessions. In the first session Derek Yach (US) assessed the state of play and talk about the importance of this meeting, followed by two presentations by Health Initiatives representatives Nataliia Toropova (Ukraine) - ‘Challenges and opportunities for tobacco harm reduction’ and Giorgi Mzhavanadze (Georgia) – ‘The economics of ending the smoking epidemic in the region’ . Derek Yach, MBChB MPH, is a global health expert focused on addressing major chronic diseases, mental health and their underlying risks.
The second session was a round table discussion, moderated by Derek Yach and David Sweanor, asking those present to identify the challenges in harm reduction faced by their countries and/or region with contributions from Andrew Urushadze (Georgia), Nataliia Toropova and Anastasia Kalashnikova (Kazakhstan), Dmitry Ianin (Russia). David Sweanor is an adjunct professor, Faculty of Law, and chair of the advisory board of the Centre for Health Law, Policy & Ethics at the University of Ottawa and has been actively involved in tobacco and health policy issues since the beginning of the 1980s.
The third session was also an engaging roundtable discussion, moderated by David Sweanor and Derek Yach. David recaped the main points from the morning’s discussion and then the discussion addressed the roles of different groups in advancing the cause of tobacco harm reduction in the region - informed by specific contributions from attendees representing different groups such as policy, consumer, NGO, media, doctors etc.
In the final session, Suely Castro (UK) and Katarzyna Kowalczyk (Poland) jointly moderated a discussion to identify action points and plans for the future in the region. The aim to have a plan that might be reviewed at a reconvened meeting during GFN in 2023.