Sound public health policy requires meaningful regulation
15:40 - 15:55
Public Health & Policy
In the hope that E-Cigarettes would inevitably transform the battle to reduce the death and disease caused by tobacco, too often scientific standards have been lowered and fundamental public health lessons ignored. It is not a surprise that there are so few solid scientific answers because so much of the discussion has been characterized by broad bold overly simplistic statements that are guaranteed to generate conflict because there are examples where they are provably wrong. E-Cigarettes are not a single product and their impact on population health will vary based on a host of confounding factors. The same e-cigarette can also lead to significantly different results depending on a wide variety of factors, including, among others, how they are marketed, the laws governing marketing and product content, including nicotine content and delivery, the capacity of different governments to regulate and/or enforce whatever rules do exist, the effectiveness and potential of existing tobacco reduction measures, the behavior of different companies, requirements for companies to test and disclose how specific products are used, and many others. Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that the experience in different countries varies. The product matters, and we don’t focus adequately on their differences, but so do other factors. Supporters of e-cigarettes argue that traditional regulation will kill innovation. History teaches that the absence of meaningful regulation undermines public health goals, innovation that maximizes public health, and the production of the kind of information that leads to consensus.
- Matthew L. Myers President - Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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