10 September 2021

Tobacco Regulation Needs to Keep Pace with Innovation

Submitted by Kisha Reader
Tobacco Regulation Needs to Keep Pace with Innovation

More regulation and taxation alone will not be enough to end smoking says, Philip Morris South Africa

The draft Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill, will not effectively reduce cigarette sales or smoking-related harm in the country, according to Philip Morris South Africa. 

The Bill is fiercely debated and there have been calls by some to accelerate its implementation.

“On one side of the debate are those who would see less harmful nicotine products including e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products and snus, regulated the same as the most harmful products, namely cigarettes,” says Rishaad Hajee, Head of Corporate Communications at Philip Morris South Africa. “This approach doesn’t consider the growing body of scientific evidence which shows that not all nicotine-containing products are the same and turns a blind eye to the principle of tobacco harm reduction.”

Hajee explains that tobacco harm reduction (THR) is the principle of replacing cigarettes, which are known to be the most harmful form of nicotine consumption, with smoke-free products that are better alternatives for those adults who would otherwise continue to smoke. “These alternatives are not risk-free but can be a much better choice than cigarettes. The burning of tobacco produces the vast majority of harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke, and by eliminating the burning process—as is the case with these products—the levels of harmful chemicals generated can be significantly reduced compared with cigarette smoke,” he adds.

Public health experts agree that the harmful chemicals released from burning tobacco are the main cause of smoking related diseases, not nicotine. While they contain nicotine, which is addictive and not risk free, smoke-free alternatives generate lower levels of harmful chemicals and have an important role to play in reducing the health burden caused by smoking cigarettes.

In Japan, between 2015 and 2019, the total cigarette sales in Japan dropped by 34%, which can be associated with the introduction of heated tobacco products.

“South Africa can achieve similar success if it implements regulatory frameworks that recognise that not all tobacco products are the same,” Hajee explains. “Sensible regulation is key to striking the right balance. This means adopting regulation that recognizes the role of these alternatives in helping those adults who would otherwise continue to smoke to move away from cigarettes, while protecting youth and non-smokers.”

The draft Bill was first published in 2018 and did not treat alternative nicotine-containing products differently from cigarettes. Hajee states that this indicates that South Africa’s tobacco regulations are not keeping pace with science and innovation and are not including tobacco harm reduction as part of the strategy for tobacco regulation or policy-making.

“The Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill is the perfect opportunity for regulators to review the evidence and facts,” he says. “With the right regulatory encouragement and support from civil society, and the medical and scientific community, cigarette sales can end sooner."

“Scientific evidence and transparency remain our strongest tools to achieve this and enable people to make informed decisions,” Hajee adds. “The 11 million men and women who smoke in South Africa deserve nothing less.”

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Issued on behalf of Philip Morris South Africa

Philip Morris International: Delivering a Smoke-Free Future
Philip Morris International (PMI) is leading a transformation in the tobacco industry to create a smoke-free future and ultimately replace cigarettes with smoke-free products to the benefit of adults who would otherwise continue to smoke, society, the company, its shareholders and its other stakeholders. PMI is a leading international tobacco company engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, as well as smoke-free products, associated electronic devices and accessories, and other nicotine-containing products in markets outside the U.S. In addition, PMI ships versions of its IQOS Platform 1 device and consumables to Altria Group, Inc. for sale under license in the U.S., where these products have received marketing authorizations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the premarket tobacco product application (PMTA) pathway; the FDA has also authorized the marketing of a version of IQOS and its consumables as a Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP), finding that an exposure modification order for these products is appropriate to promote the public health. PMI is building a future on a new category of smoke-free products that, while not risk-free, are a much better choice than continuing to smoke. Through multidisciplinary capabilities in product development, state-of-the-art facilities, and scientific substantiation, PMI aims to ensure that its smoke-free products meet adult consumer preferences and rigorous regulatory requirements. PMI’s smoke-free product portfolio includes heat-not-burn and nicotine-containing vapor products. As of June 30, 2021, PMI’s smoke-free products are available for sale in 67 markets in key cities or nationwide, and PMI estimates that approximately 14.7 million adults around the world have already switched to IQOS and stopped smoking. For more information, please visit www.pmi.com and www.pmiscience.com.

Published in Health and Medicine