Wednesday 31 January 2018

Two steps back for tobacco harm reduction

Last week the FDA was advised to keep it a secret that iQOS is safer than smoking, and the European Court of Justice was advised to keep snus illegal. I've written an article for Spectator Health about the anti-science, freedom-hating prohibitionists responsible.

There seems to be a principal-agent problem when new nicotine products are assessed by people who are steeped in ‘public health’ dogma, especially when those products contain tobacco. Bates argues that ‘panel members have strong ‘virtue signalling’ incentives to oppose tobacco industry innovation, even if highly beneficial to people at greatest risk. They can enter the room, turn up the pedantry dial to maximum, sit back and relax, lob in the odd insincere question and vote down the claims, all the time faking an appearance of trying to do the right thing.’

And so we have two products which are manifestly less harmful than cigarettes, both of which have a track record of getting people to stop smoking. One is illegal in the EU. The other is illegal in the USA. Neither of them can be labelled as less harmful and neither can be marketed as a reduced-risk product. At best, the government prevents manufacturers from putting truthful statements on these products. At worst, it prevents them from selling them at all.

Do have a read.

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