Addressing an audience of tobacco and vaping industry representatives, harm reduction experts at the 2018 Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum (GTNF), called for further research into the possible medical benefits of nicotine. Additionally, they pointed out, there needs to be a focus on the development of innovative nicotine-based products that will provide a “smoke-free society”, and reduce the harm caused by combustible cigarettes.
Expert in substance use at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work, Helen Redmond, said that people in poor countries should not be unable to purchase safer alternatives because of non-affordable prices, adding that it is the poorest who need these products the most. “It’s a human rights issue – as a harm reduction device, prices need to come down. Nicotine is not a dirty drug, it helps with depression and anxiety.”
The public is still receiving the wrong message about vaping
Ridley added that despite efforts by the vaping industry to promote their devices as safer alternatives, public opinion remains skewed due to media “scare stories”. In line with this, a recent poll by Rasmussen, indicated that sadly the majority of Americans are still misinformed about the relative benefits of e-cigarettes, and most think that vaping is as bad for one’s health as smoking, if not worse.
Who’s interests are anti-tobacco campaigners looking out for?
Renowned anti-smoking expert and director of advocacy group Counterfactual, Clive Bates, described the views of anti-tobacco campaigners as “hostile and focused”, saying that most seem to have rival commercial interests and the goal of “annihilating” the industry. Sadly, in line with Bates’ arguments, even actions taken by the FDA seem to mainly benefit the tobacco industry.
In fact, following last week’s announcement that the agency issued over a 1,000 warning letters to U.S. retailers and manufacturers of e-cigarettes, tobacco stocks are rallying the most they ever have in the last decade. Ironically, Altria Group and British American Tobacco have gained the most intraday since 2008, rising as much as 7.7 percent and 6.9 percent, respectively. Similarly, Philip Morris rose the most in over three years.
Read Further: The Guardian