From HSB Noticias:

Creating differentiated warnings for e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products is the proposal that the expert Carrie Wade presented at the Concordia Summit  held in Bogotá on July 16 and 17 of this year. The objective of this proposal is for consumers of cigarettes to know more about these technologies and to switch to reduced potential consumption.

Wade, Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Neuroscience, has developed research on opioid and tobacco use and directs the harm reduction section of the US  R Street Institute, a public policy advisory organization.

“I think there is enough evidence to conclude that these products are less risky,” Wade said. According to the expert, studies have already been carried out that “show that exposure to toxins is significantly reduced” with the new devices, so that “their effects, such as the development of cancer or cardiovascular diseases, are also substantially reduced”.

“People who switch to electronic cigarettes, for example, quickly improve their lung function, which also suggests a long-term benefit,” she said.

In terms of public health, the adoption of a harm reduction approach could have positive consequences if medical costs are taken into account for the treatment of diseases associated with smoking, which annually in Colombia amount to 2,139 million dollars, an 8.3 % of total health expenditure.

According to Wade, having a differentiated regulation strategy, based on risk reduction, does not compete with the well-known approaches of prevention, abstinence, legal prohibitions, graphic warnings and specific taxes and, instead, can be a complementary approach with substantial medium and long-term effects with an impact on consumer health.

“If you smoke for several years it is very likely that you develop diseases related to smoking; cancer, emphysema, cardiovascular diseases, etc., but if you can change to something less harmful, it is highly probable that these diseases will not develop, ” she explained.

Wade points out that among the main challenges is overcoming the ignorance among the population about these alternatives and for this he pointed out that key, for example, is special labeling because “many people receive information (related to risk) through these labels, So allowing these products to be labeled like this would be a big step. “

On the other hand indicated that it is necessary to expand access to these technologies and review issues such as taxes, because “cigarettes are less expensive than electronic then why consumers would have to switch to this device if it will cost more money.”

Another issue addressed by the researcher is that governments should motivate innovation in search of “more developments, products and alternatives for people, it is important because not everyone will prefer an e-cigarette , because if they do not like it then they are not going to use it.”

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