In a letter to the CEOs of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter the group demanded an end to the promotion of tobacco and nicotine products. Countless influencers, including DJs, models and socialites, promote products such as BAT’s Velo, the flavoured nicotine pouch which tobacco harm reduction experts would only recommend for smoking cessation. Among the influencers promoting this product are Made in Chelsea star Alex Mytton and racing driver Archie Hamilton.
Nicotine pouches may be be less biologically active than cigarettes and snus
Meanwhile, a 2020 (non-independent) study conducted by BAT, compared the tobacco company’s Velo nicotine pouches with a cigarette and a Swedish-style snus pouch. The nicotine pouches were found to be less biologically active than cigarette smoke and snus, even at greater concentrations of nicotine and across a range of tests. In fact, during many attempts Velo failed to elicit a biological response at all, which led the researchers to conclude that they are safer than traditional cigarettes and Swedish-style snus.
Also last year BAT announced it was launching a new plant at an estimated cost of Sh2.5 billion, to start the production of nicotine pouches in Kenya. The plan was to trade under the Lyft brand and target the African market. Yet the country’s Ministry of Health and civil society lobby groups, such as International Institute for Legislative Affairs, resisted the sales of the products, and announced a ban in October 2020.
Naturally, many health entities believe that BAT’s only interest is hooking young adults on a new product in order to enjoy a steady revenue. “The true intention of these ads is quite clear: to keep customers addicted to nicotine and to entice young people to try nicotine products,” Caroline Renzulli, of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids,” told the Guardian.
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