Time to take the initiative

| May 4, 2018

The US-based National Tobacco Reform Initiative (NTRI) believes that misperceptions that nicotine is the harmful part of tobacco comprise one of the biggest barriers to encouraging adult smokers to switch to nicotine products that are not burnt.

In a press note issued yesterday, the NTRI said that nicotine did not cause cancer while, in small doses, might contribute minimally to cardio-vascular disease. In contrast, cigarette smoke contained 7,000+ chemicals, including carbon monoxide and 69 known carcinogens, and caused almost half a million premature deaths among US citizens every year.

‘The steady drum beat of fear and panic about nicotine containing e-cigarettes from public health and medical authorities calling for strong action to stem an imagined epidemic of nicotine addiction plaguing our youth, leaves many adult smokers confused while they continue to smoke,’ the note said. ‘A balance must be found between protecting our young people, and helping smokers end their use of a deadly burning tobacco product by switching to substantially safer alternatives, if they cannot or do not want to quit using nicotine altogether.’

The NTRI (http://www.tobaccoreform.org) is led by a team of independent senior tobacco control experts committed to facilitate open and evidence-based discussions about the most effective ways to reduce the prevalence of adult smokers to 10 percent by the year 2024, an interagency-approved goal, and to five percent or lower by 2030.

According to David Abrams, Ph.D. of the NYU College of Global Health and former director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Science (OBSSR) at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, the NTRI believes that its fundamental health goal is to eliminate the number-one, totally-preventable cause of death in the US, cigarette smoking, and that the evidence shows that e-cigarettes can help smokers to quit or switch.

“While nicotine is not harmless, it is urgent and critical the public, especially smokers, be better informed about the substantial reductions in total health risks that arise from smoking compared to vaping e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and other nicotine-containing harm-reduction products such as FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) like patches, gum and lozenges,” Abrams said

Meanwhile, NTRI member, Scott Ballin, health policy consultant, former vice president and legislative counsel to the American Heart Association, who has spent 40 years working on tobacco-related policy issues, said that innovative new products demanded that all stakeholders should work together to provide the public with truthful and accurate information about the substantially different risks of combusted and non-combusted nicotine-containing products.

“Governmental agencies, such as the FDA and CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], national tobacco control organizations and healthcare professionals have ethical responsibilities to do so loudly and often,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that the real losers are the millions of addicted smokers who do not perceive much difference in health risk between smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, nicotine medications and cigarettes.”

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Category: Breaking News, Harm reduction, People

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