Science, regulation and public health
Smoking is the biggest single cause of preventable death in the developed world with almost 1 billion users worldwide. The devastating effect of long-term smoking cannot be underestimated, with approximately half of all lifetime smokers dying from smoking related diseases and many more suffering a compromised quality of life. Even with these known risks, traditional tobacco products remain readily available.
Despite compelling evidence that e-cigarettes represent a fraction of the harm of smoking, there have been a myriad of contradictory news headlines on the safety of e-cigarettes. As a result, the public understanding of the relative risks of vaping and smoking has deteriorated significantly. ASH (UK) found the share of respondents who described e-cigarettes as “more harmful” or “equally harmful” to tobacco cigarettes rose from about 8% in 2012 to 20% in 2014 with another 23% saying that they “did not know”. American surveys have found a similar trend.
The recent publication of reports by Public Health England (PHE) and the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) advocated strongly for the inclusion of e-cigarettes as a reduced harm product for smokers. Both of these reports while heralded by many was controversial with other public health agencies and anti-smoking groups who maintain that the long term impact of e-cigarette on public health remains uncertain and that e-cigarettes should be considered harmful until proven safe.
This raises a far more immediate question of how “evidence” and “harm” is defined. Without consensus on these crucial points, a circular argument has emerged. Whilst it may be some time until consensus is reached on the impact of e-cigarettes on public health, should there be a moral imperative to consistently represent the relative harms of e-cigarettes to traditional tobacco products?
The E-Cigarette Summit provides a much needed neutral platform to explore the available peer reviewed evidence and debate the issues that are dividing scientists, health professionals and policy makers alike. So, are-cigarettes a valuable harm reduction strategy or a tacit U-turn on decades of effective tobacco control efforts? Whichever side of the debate you fall on, this is likely to be one of the most significant public health issues for a generation.
2016 Key Topics included:
- Do e-cigarettes pose a health risk to non-users and should they be banned in public places
- How safe are e-cigarettes – current clinical trials – what do we know and what do we still need to find out
- Do e-cigarettes undermine current tobacco control measures or offer new opportunities
- Are flavours an essential component for their attractiveness and continued use by ex-smokers or a cynical ploy to attract children
- Evidence on Gateway, what is the available data and how should it be interpreted.
- Use of e-cigarettes in public and work places, what should be considered before making a decision
- How will implementation of the TPD affect the current market and products available. Intended and unintended consequences
- Advertising and promotion, what are the issues and how will these be addressed post TPD implementation.
- Conflicting interests that arise from the dual corporate ownership of tobacco products and harm reduction products – Is the problem ideological or a public health threat
- How does use of e-cigarettes compare with existing nicotine replacement therapies – what should the stop smoking services and cessation practitioners be saying to current smokers?
2016 Speakers Include:
- Prof. Ann McNeill (Chair Person) – Professor of Tobacco Addiction (UKCTAS)
- Prof. David Abrams – Professor, The John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Tom Miller – The Attorney General of Iowa
- Professor Neal L. Benowitz – Professor of Medicine and Bioengineering & Therapeutic Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, USA
- Deborah Arnott – Chief Executive Officer, Action on Smoking (ASH)
- Prof David Spiegelhalter – Winton Professor for the Public Understanding of Risk, Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Cambridge University
- Beryl Keeley – E-cigarette Notification Scheme Lead, Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency
- Tim Baxter – Head of Public Health Policy and Strategy Unit, Department of Health (DoH)
- Prof Linda Bauld – Professor of Health Policy, University of Stirling and (UKCTAS)
- Fraser Cropper – Managing Director, Totally Wicked
- Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos – Researcher, Onassis Caridac Surgery Centre, Greece
- Prof. Peter Hajek – Professor of Clinical Psychology, Queen Mary’s University London
- Robert Morrison – Senior Regulatory Policy Executive – Committee of Advertising Practice
- Prof Marcus Munafo – Professor of Biological Psychology, University of Bristol
- Rosanna O’Connor – Director – Public Health England, Alcohol, Drugs and Tobacco
- Prof. Ricardo Polosa – Director of the Institute for Internal Medicine and Clinical Immunology, University of Catania
- Prof. Robert West – Professor of Health Psychology and Director of Tobacco Studies (CRUK)
- Speaker tbc – MHRA
To see speaker biographies please click here