Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum (GNTF) 2023 Focuses on "Consumer Empowerment

Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum (GNTF) 2023 Focuses on "Consumer Empowerment
The Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum (GNTF) opened in Seoul, South Korea, focusing on consumer-centric discussions and industry regulations.

The Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum (GNTF) forum opened in Seoul on September 19, 2023, at 3:45 pm local time in South Korea. The first day of discussions centered around the theme of "Consumer First." Attendees expressed their opinions on various focal points, including the enforcement situation of the US FDA, the future of safe nicotine products in the United States, the accessibility of consumer products after market compliance, and how the e-cigarette industry can assist consumers.

The opening day of the forum was hosted by Nancy Loucas, the Executive Coordinator of the Coalition of Asia Pacific Tobacco Harm Reduction Advocates (CAPHRA). The participants of the conference included Alex Clark, CEO of the Association of Smoke-Free Alternatives Advocates (participating online), Samrat Chowdhery, former Chairman of the International Network of Nicotine Consumer Organizations, Matt Drodge, Research Director at Walnut Unlimited, Clarisse Yvette Virgino, a member of CAPHRA, and Fiona Patten, leader of the Reason Party and former member of the Victorian Legislative Council (participating via recorded video).

Alex Clark, spokesperson, states that currently in the United States, flavored e-cigarettes do not require pre-market tobacco applications (PMTA). He expresses optimism about the increasing popularity of smokeless alternatives, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Certain states like New York and California have already banned flavored e-cigarettes, and Ohio is also considering similar actions. With many consumers using products that lack any form of assurance, it is hoped that they will have access to reliable and trustworthy products in the future. Alex Clark further emphasizes his satisfaction with the continued operation of vape shops in the United States. He believes that the FDA's regulatory measures could have been simpler, and the entire e-cigarette industry should work towards influencing regulatory agencies to enact appropriate legislation.

Alex Clark believes that the current state of the e-cigarette market in the United States is a result of the FDA not yet completing the PMTA (Pre-Market Tobacco Application) process. This is because the FDA lacks awareness of the size and significance of the vape market and was unprepared for it.

Australia's Reason Party leader and former Victorian Legislative Council member Fiona Patten has criticized the Australian government for its lack of true harm reduction (THR) policies. Patten argues that the current policies have led to 99% of Australians purchasing e-cigarettes on the black market, making organized crime the predominant method of e-cigarette sales in the country. Patten believes that consumers need to make their voices heard in order to push for policy advancements.

CAPHRA member Clarisse Yvette Virgino believes that gaining access to e-cigarettes is a double-edged sword. "I see my students under the age of 18 using e-cigarettes, many of whom started in high school and continue to use them in college," he says. "I asked my students if they had smoked traditional cigarettes before using e-cigarettes, and they laughed." Many policymakers strongly oppose e-cigarettes and have vilified them, which has resulted in the current anti-e-cigarette stance in the Philippines.

Alex believes that the entire e-cigarette industry should strive to promote proper legislation by regulatory bodies in order to assist consumers. On the other hand, Clarisse emphasizes the importance of educating smokers on the proper use of e-cigarette products.

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