E-cigs given a hearing

| February 28, 2018

British American Tobacco’s chief scientific officer yesterday told a UK parliamentary committee that policymakers should maximize the potential of electronic cigarettes to provide an alternative to combustible cigarettes.

In his evidence to the Science and Technology Committee, which is holding an enquiry into e-cigarettes, Dr. Chris Proctor (pictured) focused on three key aspects of the vaping category.

Firstly, he said, there was a need for a broad range of products: a need to understand that it was not a “one-size fits all” situation. ‘Over the last 4-5 years we have seen strong growth in the e-cigarette category, but different consumers have different needs,’ Proctor was quoted in a BAT press note as having told the committee. ‘While e-cigarettes work for many, we need to recognise that other products, such as tobacco heating products, can also play a part. Today, at BAT we have an unrivalled range of exciting and innovative products across the potentially reduced risk categories including industry-leading products in vapor, tobacco heating products, oral tobacco, tobacco-free nicotine pouches, and moist snuff.’

Secondly, Proctor said, there was a need to address marketing restrictions because BAT believed there was a lack of public understanding about these new products that could be holding the category back. It was crucial, he added, that there was appropriate regulation in place to allow sensible marketing freedoms to give consumers the information they needed.

Thirdly, there was a need for greater focus and emphasis on product standards and quality. There was a need for quality and product-safety standards that could become the benchmark for the industry and regulators. It was only with universal standards that consumers would get the quality assurances they rightly needed.

After his committee presentation, Proctor issued a statement that welcomed the opportunity to give evidence before the committee and that underlined the need for officially-recognized product standards. “For many years, and based on our own extensive and continued research, testing and development of our products, we have highlighted that smokeless products – like vaping and tobacco heating products – can be a potentially reduced risk alternative to smoking,” he said. “This is why we have, and continue to, invest heavily in a portfolio of innovative, high-quality next-generation products, accelerating our ambition to transform tobacco.

“The UK is the largest vaping market in Europe and we believe this is largely due to its pragmatic and progressive approach to this category. However, there is still more to be done. Whilst it is great that there is increasing debate around these new products and more supportive science, we need to recognise that not all products within the category are the same. It is crucial that there is appropriate regulation in place to ensure high product standards and quality, whilst also giving sensible innovation and marketing freedoms. Only with these industry standards, will consumers get the information and quality assurances they rightly need.”

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Category: Breaking News, Harm reduction, Next-generation products, People, Vapor

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