THR advocates support science-based regulations on cigarette alternatives

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MANILA, Philippines — Advocates of tobacco harm reduction (THR) have called for science-based, innovation-driven regulation of alternative nicotine delivery such as heated tobacco products (HTPs) to ensure access to effective technologies being developed for those who want to quit smoking.

“Regulations must be based on sound science and not be driven by politics, which unfortunately is not always the case. Regulations must be progressive and allow innovation as new facts emerge,” said Chris Allen, chief scientific officer at Broughton Nicotine Services.

THR advocates gathered recently at the 2020 Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum (GTNF) held online this week.

“Seven million people every year die due to tobacco-related diseases. There are 1.3 billion people using tobacco products, most of them in a toxic, combustible form. The goal of a regulator should primarily be to reduce that harm in the fastest possible time,” said Derek Yach, president of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World.

“There’s an evolving set of state and local tobacco regulations in the US that are based more on emotion than on science. These are almost evolving towards a 50-country approach rather than a unified federal approach,” said Elaine Round, senior director of scientific and regulatory affairs at RAI Services.

Drawing the spotlight at the forum was the ongoing effort to develop the European Tobacco Products Directive (EUTPD) by the European Union, which places limits on the sale and merchandising of tobacco and tobacco-related products in the EU.

It aims to improve the functioning of the internal market for tobacco and related products while ensuring a high level of health protection for European citizens.

The EUTPD was cited as an “inclusive process” and “evidence-based approach” that could be a model for other nations and economies crafting legislation to regulate tobacco, as well as electronic nicotine delivery systems or electronic cigarettes and vapes.

THR advocates note that alternative smoking cessation strategies and new devices that have emerged to help smokers end their smoking or nicotine addiction should not be removed from the reach for those who want effective technologies or option launched in Rio de Janeiro in 2008, the annual GTNF has become the global exchange for views and ideas among public health experts, government representatives, investors and members of the tobacco/nicotine industries.

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