Change your attitudes or be forgotten expert tells anti-smoking lobby
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by: James Dunworth

Scott Ballin.

In the latest of our electronic cigarette interviews, Tobacco and Public Health Expert Scott Ballin (interviewed by Paul Bergen) argues the anti-smoking lobby faces a choice – adapt or face obscurity.

You can read the full interview here, but for busy people here are a few choice excerpts.

On the e-cigarette and the pharmaceutical industry:

“In many regards the e-cigarette or other low-risk nicotine containing products offer the same solution that the NRT products currently do, and that is why some of the pharmaceutical companies are working diligently to keep these products off the market.”

On traditional tobacco control advocates:

“One of the dilemmas that we face … is that traditional tobacco control advocates in the US and elsewhere remain more focused on fighting the ‘tobacco wars’ than in finding a path forward by and through which we can advance public health goals.”

On the language of tobacco control:

“We seem to be using terms that are based in the 1980’s and 90’s and not in the 21st century. That needs to change.”

On tobacco control advocates who refuse to adapt:

“Stakeholders who wish to hold on to the past will be the forgotten ones when we look back ten to fifteen years from now. They can exit gracefully as the environment continues to change, but I know that some will go kicking and screaming unfortunately.”

On the FDA’s attitude to reduced harm products (such as e-cigarettes):

“I am cautiously optimistic…I know they are now beginning to look at the issue of modified risk tobacco products (workshop scheduled for August) and I am pleased to learn that they are planning to involve numerous stakeholders in that dialogue.”

What do you think: Is there real interest in dialogue or will powerful interests prevail in the e-cigarette debate?

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