The Secret to Tobacco Harm Reduction is Accurate and Actionable Information

“The public and especially users of multiple tobacco and nicotine products need to be provided

accurate and actionable information on major differential tobacco and nicotine product risk.”

The focus of Vaper’s Vortex is usually on the science, politics and regulatory policies that affect smokers and vapers in the U.S. But the death toll from combustible tobacco is not limited to the U.S. The fight for reasonable, evidence based regulatory policies for alternative nicotine delivery systems is not just a U.S. challenge. The secret to harm reduction is accurate and actionable information. Surely every bit as important in other nations as it is right here at home.

This op-ed piece discusses Canadian Senate Bill S-5 that is currently being debated. It is one of the best arguments I have ever read for a common-sense approach to regulating reduced risk products for nicotine delivery. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Technology has provided the Canadian government (and every government) tools to dramatically shorten the timeline for achieving smoking cessation goals.
  • For decades demand side regulations – taxes, minimum age laws, advertising bans – were the only option for tobacco control. We now have a supply side tool that has been shown, here and here and here , to be dramatically more effective.
  • Regulators need to get it – all forms of tobacco and/or nicotine use are not the same. Terms like “harmless” or “safe” are irrational standards that cost lives. There is a continuum of risk that equates to “less harmful”, “safer”, and a reduction in smoking related deaths.
  • In Canada (and many other countries around the world), public health, harm reduction and common sense, are losing out to ideology and moral hypocrites that demand nothing short of prohibition.
  • Consumers have the right to evidence-based information that will allow them to make informed choices on alternative reduced risk products.

For those who have read my September 26th blog , you know that Big Tobacco companies are racing to develop and market reduced risk products. So it may come as no surprise that this op-ed piece was written by Andre Calantzopoulos, the CEO of Phillip Morris International.

Many will dismiss Calantzopoulos’ remarks as just the latest example of Big Tobacco lies motivated by corporate greed. Fair enough.

Dr. Lynn Kozlowski of the School of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Buffalo:

“The public and especially users of multiple tobacco and nicotine products need to be provided accurate and actionable information on major differential tobacco and nicotine product risk.

Deception or evasion about major differences in product risks is not supported by public health ethics, health communication or consumer practices.

Public health agencies have an obligation to correct the current dramatic level of consumer misinformation on relative risks that they have fostered.”

David Sweanor of the Center for Health Law, Policy and Ethics at the University of Ottawa:

“We know that people can only make as good a decision as the information available to them allows, and in this case we see a quarantining of the information, keeping information away from consumers rather than empowering them to make better decisions.

You are going to reduce risk by at least 90 percent for smokeless tobacco compared to cigarettes, but only 1 in 10 Americans believe that any smokeless tobacco product is less hazardous than a cigarette, so they have been phenomenally misled.”

Big Tobacco CEO. Medical doctor and University Public Health professor. Attorney and University Health Law professor. It’s not the messenger that’s important. It’s the message.


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Dave Coggin has a Master’s Degree in business and spent 35 years in corporate America. He is a co-founder and partner in DIYELS. He has spent the last five years actively researching and following the evolution of the e-cigarette industry. He is a strong proponent of e-cigarettes as the most promising option currently known for tobacco harm reduction. He may be contacted directly at .

The opinions presented here are exclusively those of the author. Vaper’s Vortex is offered as a service to our customers and followers. Anyone considering e-cigarettes as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes should seek qualified advice from a medical professional.

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