A medical expert has called nicotine-based reduced-risk products, like e-cigarettes, the “gateway away from tobacco”, however, the products remain banned in the region.
International healthcare professionals, university researchers, policy experts and scientists gathered recently at the Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw, Poland to discuss the growing positive impact the introduction of nicotine-based reduced risk products is having on reducing the number of smoking related diseases.
Currently the use of e-cigarettes or other such products as an alternative to traditional tobacco use is banned in the Gulf region.
However, research has shown that smokers who switch from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes reduce the risk to their health by up to 95 per cent. It can also help them quit altogether.
Speaker Derek Yach, who is the head of the Vitality Institute, supported the use of such products. ?I would argue that e-cigarettes are in fact a gateway away from tobacco and can help people quit smoking.?
He said it is imperative we separate the addictive nature of nicotine from the killing power of tar, adding ?we have to separate nicotine policy from tobacco policy?.
A growing groundswell of scientific and medical opinion from around the world seems to support the case for the introduction of alternative products to traditional cigarettes, as a means for individuals to obtain nicotine.
The debate comes as the total number of smokers in the world is increasing in line with population growth, with the impact of smoking being claimed to be responsible for an estimated six million deaths every year around the world.
A number of speakers also argued that tighter legislation and the prohibition of e-cigarettes could be counter-productive and prevent many doctors around the world from recommending these as a legal alternative to smokers who simply cannot quit smoking using other methods.
Like the Gulf region, Australia has also banned the use of reduced-risk products.
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Photo Credit: AP via Khaleej Times