Consumer-Centric Discussions at Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum
The Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum (GNTF) forum opened in Seoul on September 19, 2023, at 3:45 pm local time. The first day's discussions centered around the theme of "Consumer First." Esteemed guests shared their perspectives on various key issues, including the enforcement status of the US FDA, the future of safe nicotine products in the United States, the ease of consumer access to compliant products, and how the e-cigarette industry can assist consumers, among others.
Forum on-site photo | 2firsts
The first day of the forum was hosted by Nancy Loucas, Coordinator of the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA), who is an expert in public health policies. Participants in the discussion included Chief Executive Officer of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association, Alex Clark (participating online), former Chairman of the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organizations, Samrat Chowdhery, Research Director at Walnut Unlimited, Matt Drodge, CAPHRA member Clarisse Yvette Virgino, and Fiona Patten, leader of the Reason Party and former Victorian State Parliament member (participating via recorded video).
Forum on-site photo | 2firsts
Alex Clark stated that flavored e-cigarettes are currently not subjected to pre-market tobacco applications (PMTA) in the United States. He is pleased to see an increasing number of people using non-tobacco alternatives, even amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as this category continues to grow. Some states, such as New York and California, have already banned flavored e-cigarettes, and Ohio is considering similar actions. Many consumers are using products that lack any form of guarantee, and they hope for reliable and trustworthy products in the future. Alex Clark is happy to see that vape shops are still operating in the United States. He believes that the regulatory measures implemented by the FDA could have been simpler, and the entire e-cigarette industry should advocate for appropriate legislation by regulatory agencies.
Alex Clark believes that the current state of the e-cigarette market in the United States is a result of the FDA's failure to complete the Pre-Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) process. This is due to the FDA's lack of awareness of the size of the vape market and their lack of preparedness.
Fiona Patten, leader of the Australian Reason Party and former Legislative Council member of Victoria, believes that the Australian government has not effectively implemented harm reduction (THR) policies. The current policies have led to 99% of Australians purchasing e-cigarettes on the black market, making "organized crime" the main selling channel for e-cigarettes in Australia. As consumers, it is important to make the government aware of this in order to drive policy improvements.
CAPHRA member Clarisse Yvette Virgino believes that gaining e-cigarette access is a double-edged sword. "I see my students under 18 using e-cigarettes, many of whom started using them in high school and continued into college," she said. "When I asked my students if they smoked traditional cigarettes before using e-cigarettes, they laughed." Many policy makers strongly oppose e-cigarettes and tarnish their image, which has resulted in the current anti-e-cigarette sentiment in the Philippines.
Alex believes that the entire e-cigarette industry should strive to promote proper legislation among regulatory bodies in order to help consumers. On the other hand, Clarisse believes that the industry should focus on educating smokers to use the right products.
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