The harm reduction strategy in tobacco control - A closer look at tobacco industry tactics on heated tobacco products
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Health Institute Association, Turkey
Publication date: 2019-03-26
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2019;5(Supplement):A28
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The industry has recently attempted to restore its image, by acting like a public health guardian. The industry now wants to create a smoke-free world, eliminate cigarettes, reduce tobacco-related mortality. They have showed interest in funding research, scientific meetings and publications. If tobacco industry has not decided to close down the business completely, there may be some other reasons behind this strategy. Today’s customers, the Z generation, tend not to smoke. Selling classical cigarettes will not be a good business model in the very near future. The “safer” product had to be marketed. The new product is named after the acrostic of “I Quit Ordinary Smoking”. The tobacco is not burnt but heated. These products are called heated tobacco products (HTPs). Surveys of tobacco industry documents showed that the tobacco industry’s early HTP pursuits were primarily driven to evade smoke-free regulations and that tobacco industry’s use of harm reduction was aimed to gain access to scientists, public health community and policy makers and rebuild its reputation. Tobacco industry had deceived public since 1954. In January 1954, US tobacco manufacturers jointly sponsored an advocacy advertisement entitled “A Frank Statement to Cigarette Smokers” which appeared in 448 newspapers in 258 cities reaching an estimated 43 245 000 Americans. They said “We believe the products we make are not injurious to health. Euromonitor predicts that vapor products market is expected to grow to more than 30 billion US dollars until 2021. The top three markets by value are expected to be Japan, USA and Turkey. Tobacco industry strategy documents clearly show that they want to establish the concept of harm reduction as a legitimate public policy in tobacco regulation and marginalize the policies and advocates of extreme measures as prohibitionists. HTPs are not risk free. They are marketed by the same deceptive industry responsible for 100 million deaths in the last century. Their use could re-normalize tobacco use. There is no evidence to suggest they will reduce use of cigarettes. General obligation of the international convention urges member states to prevent tobacco use of any form.
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