British American Tobacco (BAT) Chief Strategy and Growth Officer Kingsley Wheaton said a five-step plan for regulating vapor products could help achieve the right balance between harm reduction and mitigating unintended consequences, like youth access.
“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 in prepared remarks, which Jonathan Atwood, BAT’s global head of business communications, shared at the Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum 2023.
Those five steps from Wheaton are:
- On-device technology, which would help underage prevention and restriction of vapor products, is crucial. This could include things like Bluetooth technology that ensures e-cigarettes are locked by the owner and using age-gating technology on top of that. Vapor products should be accessible only to adults.
- More recognition is needed that flavors are an important driver of adoption for smokers seeing alternatives; however, flavors in vapor products should not appeal to anyone underage.
- At the manufacturing and import level, ensure non-compliant products cannot reach the market in the first place.
- Where no restrictions exist already, regulators should look at who should be able to sell vapor 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,” Wheaton said.
- Governments must ensure consumers are purchasing legitimate products through enforcement of the laws and penalties for those who fail to comply.
“Let there be no doubt about what BAT stands for—a future where reduced-risk alternatives to smoking are embraced.” Wheaton said. “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.”
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