Warsaw, 18th of April 2018
Position of the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers on state policy regarding
information on new nicotine products
The state’s concern for the health of its citizens should, if possible, take into account the impact of the actions undertaken on the economic situation and the development of entrepreneurship. And in particular if it can bring positive effects, both from a medical and an economic point of view. Therefore, the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers ZPP appeals to repeal legislation prohibiting communication of the results of scientific research on e-cigarettes and HNB products (heat-not-burn, heated tobacco) as quickly as possible.
The state, as a body financing health care, for understandable reasons wants to run an active and consistent smoke-free policy and should do so. However, it must not take on an irrational character, where under the slogan of the fight against cigarettes, provisions of the law are introduced that hinder the effective fight against addiction to traditional cigarettes. The primary goal of the state should therefore be to care for public health and not to fight an industry, regardless of whether it offers traditional cigarettes or alternative nicotine products. We consider the prohibition of communicating the results of scientific research to be purely repressive and irrational.
Electronic cigarettes and HNB products (heat-not-burn, heated tobacco) available for several years in Poland, although they are not fully health-neutral, reduce the risk of disease compared to traditional tobacco products. All allow the delivery of nicotine, but without tar, carbon monoxide and other harmful substances found in the smoke, responsible for a number of diseases. The aforementioned scientific studies indicate that new nicotine products are up to several times less harmful than traditional products. Based on this research, British and American authorities are willing to revise their own policies in this area. These products may therefore have significant potential in reducing the harmfulness of nicotine products.
Regardless of health aspects, one cannot be indifferent to economic issues. Tobacco companies in Poland as one of the more significant producers in Europe, naturally have a chance to be an important research and production base for a new generation of products. The tobacco industry provides about 8% of domestic tax revenues (i.e. approximately PLN 23 billion annually) and employs over 60,000 people. The revenue from the export of traditional tobacco products produced in Poland amount to over PLN 8 billion. It should be expected, however, that in the long-term perspective and taking into account the progress of tobacco control regulations, the demand for such products will shrink rapidly, which may have negative economic consequences for industrial companies operating in our country. The solution is to effectively use the potential of our tobacco industry for new, innovative and safer products that will gradually conquer global markets.
We advocate for a change in the current approach of the Ministry of Health in this matter, which not only does not allow the achievement of the assumed regulatory objective (i.e. public health protection), but has exactly the opposite effect, limiting consumers’ access to less harmful products. Amendments in the law which will focus on the protection of public health and take into account the freedom of doing business are the changes we need.
Considering both public health and economic development, regulatory solutions are necessary that would allow manufacturers and sellers to inform smokers (consumers of traditional cigarettes) about the health benefits of using products with potentially less harmful effects.
Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers
Photo. Vaping360 / Creative Commons licence / flickr.com