A new report says that this is a critical moment in determining how the U.S. federal government is going to deal with alternative products to smoking.
‘The federal government can either allow people to make free choices that might help save their lives or be co-opted by misguided public health extremists who aim to eradicate tobacco and even nicotine altogether, regardless of the potential damage to millions of Americans who want to stop smoking,’ the report warns.
The report, Rethinking tobacco policy: The federal government should stop blocking alternatives to smoking, was written by Daren Bakst and Jeff Stier, and appears on The Heritage Foundation website.
A summary of the report says that Congress and the Trump Administration can both help smokers move away from smoking and lower regulatory burdens by embracing tobacco harm reduction as a preferred strategy. ‘This requires no government interventionist policies,’ it says. ‘Instead, the federal government simply needs to step aside and allow the market to make it possible for smokers to have access to innovative products that can help them stop smoking.’
Three key takeaways from the report are given as:
* As a result of private innovation in the marketplace, important alternatives to smoking can reduce the risks associated with the delivery of nicotine.
* When it comes to the alternatives to smoking, the federal government is blocking products and much-needed innovation that could help save the lives of Americans.
* Congress and the Trump Administration should move the government away from blocking access to products that may help individuals reduce their cigarette smoking.
The report’s recommendations include:
* Congress should reform the Tobacco Control Act of 2009.
* Federal agencies should correct misleading information and provide proper information to the public.
* Congress and the Administration should make tobacco harm reduction the policy norm throughout the federal government.
Daren Bakst is research fellow in agricultural policy in the Center for Free Markets and Regulatory Reform, of the Institute for Economic Freedom, at The Heritage Foundation.
Jeff Stier (pictured) is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, DC, and heads its Risk Analysis Division. The full report is here.