British American Tobacco (BAT) has called for a smarter regulatory framework for vapour products to help the governments worldwide deliver on their aims for a Smokefree 2030.
In the opening keynote of this year’s Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum (GTNF), which kicked off on Tuesday at Seoul, South Korea, Kingsley Wheaton, BAT’s chief strategy & growth officer outlined a five-step plan to better regulate vapour products and help smokers switch to less risky products.
Wheaton explained how BAT’s five-step plan for regulation could support achieving the right balance between harm reduction and the mitigating unintended consequences, including underage access to products.
“There are five areas where more could be considered in terms of regulation. These are the areas that regulators should explore and establish smart regulation that is right for their market,” Wheaton said.
“First, on-device technology and functionality: vapour products should be accessible only to adults. Both underage prevention and restriction is crucial. On-device technology, when applied and enforced across entire markets, could help in this regard.
“Second, more recognition is needed that flavours are an important driver of adoption for smokers seeking alternatives. However, flavours in vapour products should not particularly appeal to anyone underage.
“Third is at the manufacturing and import level: ensuring that non-compliant products cannot reach the market in the first place.
“Fourth, where no restrictions exist already, regulators may want to look at who should be able to sell vapour products and where. Reasonable safeguards at the point-of-sale would help ensure these products are sold only to adult consumers. Solutions such as retail licensing and facial recognition technologies should be seriously considered.
“Lastly, enforcement and penalties: governments must wield their power and ensure consumers are purchasing legitimate products. Such measures should be rigorously enforced and those who fail to comply should face meaningful sanctions.”
Wheaton further added that reckless players in the market need to be penalised when they do not abide by the rules.
“Let there be no doubt about what BAT stands for – a future where reduced-risk alternatives to smoking are embraced. A future where innovation thrives, and where millions of consumers are free to choose from a range of alternatives. We call upon governments, regulators, and industry peers to rally towards a sustainable and progressive environment in which these products are sold and marketed responsibly,” he concluded.