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The expense of vaping should be reduced for smokers in developing countries as an urgent “human rights issue”, scientific study has told a pro-tobacco conference in London.

Addressing a 300-strong audience of tobacco and vaping industry representatives, Helen Redmond, an expert in substance use at Ny University’s Silver School of Social Work, said folks poor countries really should not be priced from nicotine-based items that could help them to to quit smoking.

Redmond compared the medicinal qualities of nicotine with cannabis and stressed “the want to get vaping to the poorest, who want it most”.

“It’s a human rights issue – as being a harm reduction device, prices need to fall,” she said. “Nicotine is not really a dirty drug, it can help with depression and anxiety.”

Academics at the 2018 global tobacco and nicotine forum called for more research to the possible medical advantages of nicotine as well as a focus on the progression of innovative nicotine-based products that can provide a “smoke-free society” and lower the harmful outcomes of cigarettes.

Viscount Matt Ridley, an author and member of your home of Lords, joined the chorus of experts promoting vaping as a form of harm reduction, arguing that subjecting electronic cigarette for the same workplace restrictions as smoking may be viewed as an infringement of the individual’s human rights.

“We should treat vaping in a similar manner that people treat access to cell phones,” said Ridley. “The the easy way get people to give up [smoking] would be to innovate with technology”.

Ridleytold the conference that, inspite of the industry’s continued focus on promoting nicotine-based products as a form of harm reduction, public opinion was moving from vaping as a result of media “scare stories”. He compared the industry’s plight, specifically in america, to that faced by “bootleggers and baptists during prohibition”.

Clive Bates, director of advocacy group Counterfactual, described the views of anti-tobacco campaigners as “hostile and focused”, accusing them of having rival commercial interests using a goal of “annihilating” the market. Warning of the damage due to “those using a vested interest in causing alarm”, he said that although critics laboured to generate evidence to “maintain the narrative of harm”, technological advances meant the transition to vape-type products was likely to become mandatory as opposed to voluntary.

You can find 1.1 billion smokers worldwide and 6 million die each year as a direct consequence of smoking. Another 890,000 people per year die prematurely because of second-hand smoke, based on the World Health Organization.

Just one cigarette contains greater than 200 carcinogenic chemicals, and also the addictive stimulant nicotine. Scientists and academics have so far failed to reach agreement on pros and cons of long-term nicotine use.

At a plenary session, clinical psychologist Karl Fagerström called for research to the positive benefits associated with nicotine, which he believes can assist people experiencing Alzheimer’s and depression. Also, he advised wgferg the industry should move from combustible to nicotine-based products.

“No the first is thinking about establishing what the benefits of smoking nicotine are,” Fagerström said.

Martin Jarvis, professor of health psychology at University College London, saidthe US was moving towards prohibition-type enforcement, with all the Food and Drug Administration eager to reduce the level of nicotine in cigarettes.

“Society doesn’t understand nicotine,” said Jarvis, “because they believe that it is particularly bad.”

But Jarvis said “describing nicotine as being addictive is justified”, adding that “80% of smokers wished they never started”.

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