Wed 17 Apr 2024 3:40 pm - Jerusalem Time

Regulations Imposed on Alternative Tobacco Products Grant Traditional Cigarettes Advantage Despite their Numerous Health Risks

Professor at the University of Ottawa: Annual reviews by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities in the UK consistently show that alternative tobacco products significantly reduce the risks of traditionalsmoking. 


Laws proportional to the risk rates should be adopted to enable smokers to switch to tobacco alternative products and move towards a healthier future.


Experts and specialists in the field of tobacco harm reduction have warned against the continued existence of regulations and laws in some countries that prevent the spread of alternative tobacco products, especially after many studies and scientific research have proven that these products reduce the risks of traditional smoking.


They called on the need for governments to adopt different legislations that enhance the accessibility to those alternative products, by allowing their circulation more easily, in line with the harm reduction policies supported by these products.


The experts also emphasized that many studies and scientific research have proven the effectiveness of heated tobacco products like IQOS, e-cigarettes that rely on the liquid in addition to oral nicotine, in reducing the risks of traditional cigarettes. They also stressed that the main reason for risk associated with smoking is the burning process, which produces many harmful chemicals.


Professor David Sweanor, Chair of the Advisory Board of the Center for Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Ottawa, Canada, expressed his complete rejection of the continued opposition of some governments to alternative tobacco products due to the adoption of false information, especially after scientific studies have proven that these products pose lower health risks. 

Sweanor also warned that the laws of some countries still prevent adult smokers from accessing tobacco alternative products. He pointed out that such laws give current, deadly tobacco products a competitive advantage and reinforce the misconception that traditional cigarettes are no more dangerous than smoke-free alternatives. He also stressed that annual reviews by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities in the UK have consistently shown that alternative tobacco products carry significantly less risk than traditional smoking.


"It is the inhalation of smoke that is causing a global pandemic. Empowering and facilitating the move to smoke-free products for people who smoke cigarettes would lead to one of the greatest advances in the history of global public health." Prof. Sweanor said.


Sweanor praised the policies of governments in Sweden, Norway, New Zealand, Japan, and many others that support the circulation of alternative tobacco products, such as IQOS, e-cigarettes, and oral nicotine. These policies have cut cigarette use in half which confirms that people who smoke cigarettes will switch to lower-risk alternatives if given the opportunity.


Dr. Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, Senior Research Fellow in Health Behaviors at the University of Oxford, concurred that while nicotine is addictive, it doesn't cause the risks associated with smoking, clarifying that the main reason is the burning process and the smoke carrying many harmful chemicals. "Evidence shows e-cigarettes with nicotine can help people quit smoking, and that they considerably pose lower risks than smoking," he said.


Dr. Riccardo Polosa, Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Catania and Founder of the Center of Excellence for the Acceleration of Harm Reduction (CoEHAR) in Italy, said current tobacco control policies need innovation to achieve positive results. He stated that "beyond advocating actions like increasing tobacco taxes, implementing public smoking bans, and promoting accessible cessation programs for all, these tobacco control policies should also take into account the integration of the concept of harm reduction through the promotion of non-combustible alternative products for adult smokers. This is already happening in some countries, such as Japan, Norway, Sweden, England, and Iceland."


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Regulations Imposed on Alternative Tobacco Products Grant Traditional Cigarettes Advantage Despite their Numerous Health Risks