The Center of Excellence for the acceleration of Harm Reduction (CoEHAR) has urged the South African government to use risk-proportionate regulation in its tobacco control efforts.
In a reply to a public consultation on the Tobacco and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems Control Bill, CoEHAR raised concerns that the current draft will restrict less risky options for people who would benefit from using these products to quit smoking.
“The primary goal of the South Africa tobacco policy should be to prevent and control tobacco- related excess mortality and morbidity. In practice, this means reducing smoking as deeply and rapidly as possible,” wrote Riccardo Polosa and Giovanni Li Volti on behalf of the CoEHAR in their letter.
“Tobacco harm reduction provides a fast-acting, market-based strategy for reducing smoking and eliminating most smoking-related risks. The regulation of combustion- smoke-tar-free products should always be considered as part of a regulatory system that covers all the nicotine delivery products. The aim should be to encourage the migration from high-risk to low-risk products and support positive behavior change. Regulators should take great care to avoid the perverse consequences of prohibitions and use risk-proportionate regulation instead.”
Based in Catania, Italy, CoEHAR is a multidisciplinary center focused on the study of tobacco harm reduction.