Session 7: Tobacco Control and THR Seminars

15:25 - 15:30

Welcome from the Chair

Chair

15:30 - 15:45

Setting the agenda for tobacco harm (reduction) research

The scientific agenda for research on reduced risk tobacco products remains splintered and counterproductive. This is because stakeholders have different goals in mind for what research ought to be able to demonstrate and which positions it should support. Tobacco and nicotine companies, naturally, hope to demonstrate that new, alternative products, compared to cigarettes or other combustibles, carry less individual health risks. Regulators more or less are open to harm reduction science, but have not been clear on defining what types of methods and evidence qualify. Regulators are also wary of potential risks because no tobacco or nicotine product is, strictly speaking, risk free. Tobacco control activists’ agenda is to demonstrate irredeemable harms attached to any and all tobacco or nicotine consumer products, or at least to raise sufficient doubts about potential future harms vs benefits. This has resulted in an asymmetric research agenda focused on harms not benefits. This agenda is driven by mythologies that perversely attract scientists’ attention yet cannot be adequately addressed within the scope of current scientific methods (e.g., the “gateway” hypothesis, nicotine-caused brain damage, e-cigarettes don’t help smokers quit). This has led to wheel-spinning and little forward progress. I will discuss ways that the scientific community can address these myths, reassert its scientific authority, and establish a positive research agenda moving forward.


Click here to view powerpoint presentation

Speaker

  • Ray Niaura Interim Chair of Dep't of Epidemiology, Professor of Social and Behavioural Sciences - School of Global Public Health, New York University
15:45 - 16:00

Attractiveness of less risky alternatives versus attractiveness of cigarettes. Are we nearly there yet?

The presentation will consider what needs to happen for less risky alternatives to kill off smoking. It will include some thoughts on what motivates efforts by activists and regulators that are preventing smokers from switching to less harmful options; and provide a review of some of the developments that are improving the competitiveness of less harmful alternatives against cigarettes.


 

Speaker

  • Prof Peter Hajek Professor of Clinical Psychology - Wolfson Institute of Public Health, Queen Mary University of London
16:00 - 16:15

Reflections from the front line

In this session Dr Jasjit S. Ahluwalia reflects on the broader issues surrounding the science and evidence on e-cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction.  With thoughtful consideration, he will discuss the available health evidence on pulmonary, cardio vascular and cancer and consider this in context of all users and product evolution and safety.  He will ask:

  • What do we know?
  • What do we need to find out?
  • …and finally, does it matter?

Speaker

  • Dr Jasjit S. Ahluwalia Physician and Professor - Brown University School of Public Health and Alpert Medical School
16:15 - 16:30

Keynote and closing address: Prof Steven A. Schroeder

The stunning success of tobacco control rests on two pillars:  unimpeachable scientific evidence about the harm caused by inhaling (either directly or passively) combustible tobacco smoke, and damning evidence of the duplicity of the tobacco industry.   Today, the controversy over the use of tobacco harm reduction devices threatens those pillars.   In their zeal to protect youth from the hazards of vaping, too many well-meaning researchers and advocates have gone beyond the evidence to overstate the dangers of harm reduction.    In so doing, and at a time when authorities are suspected of disseminating “fake news,” we risk undermining our scientific and moral credibility, thereby damaging our prospects of further curbing the still devastating tobacco epidemic.


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Speaker

  • Prof Steven A. Schroeder, MD Distinguished Professor of Health and Healthcare - University of California, San Francisco & Director, Smoking Cessation Leadership Center
16:30 - 17:00

Panel discussion and live Q&A: Tobacco control and THR – friend or foe?

Session Responder

  • Cliff Douglas JD Director, Tobacco Research Network, Adjunct Professor, Dep't of Health Management and Policy - University of Michigan School of Public Health

Chair

Speakers

  • Ray Niaura Interim Chair of Dep't of Epidemiology, Professor of Social and Behavioural Sciences - School of Global Public Health, New York University
  • Prof Peter Hajek Professor of Clinical Psychology - Wolfson Institute of Public Health, Queen Mary University of London
  • Prof Steven A. Schroeder, MD Distinguished Professor of Health and Healthcare - University of California, San Francisco & Director, Smoking Cessation Leadership Center
  • Dr Jasjit S. Ahluwalia Physician and Professor - Brown University School of Public Health and Alpert Medical School
17:00 - 17:00

Closing remarks

Chair