Less-risky rewards on offer

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Less-risky rewards on offer

January 2, 2017

The government of Hong Kong has been urged to regulate electronic cigarettes rather than ban them, according to a story by Alex Fok for the Harbour Times.

On December 24, the acting Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, said that the government would step up measures on electronic cigarette control because of ‘worries over possible cancer-causing substances and e-cigarettes being a potential gateway to smoking’.

But on a visit to Hong Kong, Dr. Stephen Jenkins, director of regulatory and medical affairs for Nicoventures’ [British American Tobacco] Asia-Pacific region, renewed his call for electronic cigarettes to be regulated instead of banned.

He said that electronic cigarettes had undergone significant public health scrutiny.

“Canada and New Zealand are moving towards regulating e-cigarettes, and Vietnam is considering it,” Jenkins said. “These are governments that have had a very strong position [on electronic cigarettes] for many years. But the evidence is compelling and they are considering it.”

Meanwhile, Fok reported that David Sweanor, an adjunct law professor at the University of Ottawa, Canada, had compared fear of vapor products to the demonization of immunization techniques.

Speaking at TEDxHongKong earlier this month, Sweanor said that science was indicating that the real problem was the smoke. And given that some people would not be able to quit their habit soon, the question arose as to what would happen if encouragement were given through regulatory interventions to make less harmful products more readily available.

Companies were trying to move into this area because they had to, Sweanor was quoted as saying. Companies either innovated when faced with disruptive technology or they got blown away by it, unless they were protected by regulators or by, in this case, anti-smoking groups that prevented the alternative products coming out and, by doing so, protected traditional tobacco cigarettes.

“The first jurisdictions that get it right have the potential of creating an enormous business by being able to then export that technology worldwide,” Sweanor said. “So this is an opportunity where some people can make billions of dollars saving billions of lives.”

Category: Breaking News

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