- FAMRI Center
New report does not necessarity reflect "the views of 120 leaders in tobacco control"
On March 15, 2017, several friends of mine, together with others, released “Ending Cigarette Use By Adults In A Generation Is Possible: The Views Of 120 Leaders In Tobacco Control,” which attracted moderate press attention.
While I agree that cigarette use could be ended in generation – actually in 5-10 years – if we could muster the political clout to implemented what we know works – I take strong exception to the pro-industry harm reduction arguments in this report. Indeed, I believe that some of the policies advocated in the report will slow progress.
As one of the 120 “leaders” who responded to the poll used to construct this document, I strongly object to the subtitle, “The views of 120 leaders in tobacco control.” The views in this report do not reflect my views. While the body of the report contains a disclaimer stating that it is only the authors’ views, the title suggests something quite different.
For example, the first recommendation is to “Increase excise taxes at the federal level and in many states with four (4) goals: lower smoking rates, harmonize taxes across state borders to reduce illicit trade, cover the costs of smoking – related disease, and encourage a shift from cigarettes to reduced – risk products and complete cessation.”
The way this is framed presumes that e-cigarettes have a health benefit. While a puff on an e-cigarette is less toxic than a puff on a conventional cigarette, this analysis ignores two important population impacts of e-cigarettes: (1) bringing new kids into the nicotine and cigarette market, and (2) substantially reducing cigarette smoking cessation among smokers.
Given these realities, this recommendation would justify taxing e-cigarettes at higher levels than cigarettes.
I doubt that is what the authors had in mind. This report is not worth serious consideration.