The E-Cig Summit, a virtual event held in the UK in December, emphasized why attacking safer nicotine alternatives like e-cigarettes is counterproductive to tobacco control.
“The E-Cigarette Summit UK comes at an historical time for global tobacco policy, where restrictive bans and higher taxation on e-cigarettes has become the prevailing direction for tobacco control, with the emphasis on restricting big tobacco from addicting the next generation,” said the event’s organizers in a statement.
The event is held with the aim of facilitating dialogue and hold a safe space for discussions and analysis from global experts, so that this can be translated into effective plans and strategies that can help reduce smoking-related disease and morbidity.
One of the main topics tackled by the summit, is the fact that the US seems to have adopted the opposite approach. “In the U.S., the government has either been mum on smokers switching to e-cigarettes or nicotine patches and heated tobacco products, or they’ve been hostile towards such switching,” says Michelle Minton, Senior Fellow at Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).
“Once you get outside of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the information trickled down to lawmakers, to a lot of journalists, to public health advocates, is this message that switching isn’t quitting, that e-cigs are no less harmful than smoking, which is absurd.”
The UK remains a leader in advocating for effective smoking cessation strategies
On the other hand, the UK remains a leader in advocating for tobacco harm reduction and effective smoking cessation strategies. “Public Health England has done a stellar job, not only of evaluating the safety, which has very low risk, but also the efficacy of helping adult smokers quit,” says Jeff Stier of Taxpayers Protection Alliance. “The government evaluated the science and said, ‘These products are approximately 95 percent less harmful than combustible cigarettes.’ And the Public Health agency of the government not only encouraged smokers to switch to e-cigarettes, but they also assisted them.”