Keynote: Science, compassion, health and human rights – a 21st century drug war in the making?
16:35 - 16:50
Public Health, Policy and Tobacco Harm Reduction
So much of the current fight over e-cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction reminds me of the struggles over illicit drugs policy that were the focus of my life for the past three decades: concerns about adolescent drug use driving calls to prohibit all sales, even for adults; widening gaps between scientific research conclusions and public perceptions; indifference to the human rights of drug consumers as well as the ways in which poor people and disfavored minorities can be harmed by paternalistic policies; and failure to understand how bans undermine the ability of governments to regulate markets and protect the health of its citizens.
Both advocates and opponents of tobacco harm reduction may benefit from better understanding both how punitive prohibitionist drug policies often proved ineffective, costly and counter-productive, and how advocates of illicit drug harm reduction and drug policy reform prevailed on a variety of fronts.
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