WASHINGTON – Representatives of the tobacco industry agreed on the need for Latin American countries to emulate the United States in adopting regulatory frameworks that allow companies to come out with new products that are less harmful to health than traditional cigarettes.
“The US is the only country in the world that has a specific regime that recognizes and incentivizes the development of less harmful products,” J.B. Simko, vice president for External Affairs at tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI), told journalists at the Tobacco and Nicotine Products Regulation and Policy Conference in Washington.
This is “very important” for the tobacco industry, according to PMI’s Head of Scientific and Public Communications, Moira Gilchrist, because US Food and Drug Administration regulations make it possible to create and sell products that “minimize the unwanted consequences” of tobacco use.
The conference, organized by the Food and Drug Law Institute, brings together some 300 tobacco executives, government officials, lawyers, public health advocates and researchers.
“The laws for tobacco control in Latin America are designed to regulate cigarettes. They are laws designed mainly to control the marketing and sale of products that are smoked, that is, in which tobacco is burned so that the smoker receives nicotine in the smoke,” PMI’s communications director for Latin America and Canada, Javier Marin, told EFE.
Marin said that smoke-free products are different from cigarettes in all aspects, adding that it is important to adapt the regulatory framework in Latin American countries for these products.
“A special regulation for this type of new products would make it easier for consumers to have access to accurate and complete information to which they are entitled, to feel encouraged to choose less risky products and above all, would help prevent minors or people who don’t smoke from starting to consume these products due to not having adequate information,” Marin said.
According to PMI data, 8.8 million adult smokers in the world have given up traditional cigarettes in favor of smoke-free devices.