The golden opportunity

Think tank: Adam Smith Institute

Author(s): Daniel Pryor

May 4, 2021

This report from UK think tank the Adam Smith Institute looks at how Global Britain can lead on tobacco harm reduction and save millions of lives.

This report explains how this is the UK’s golden opportunity to take leadership on tobacco harm reduction: The United Kingdom has taken a world-leading role in promoting the life-saving ‘harm reduction’ approach to smoking cessation. The UK’s public health consensus in favour of e-cigarettes has played a significant role in accelerating the decline in smoking rates over the past decade. However, there remain 7 million smokers in the UK (14.1% of adults) and, at the current rate of decline, the Government’s ‘2030 smoke-free’ goal will be missed. There is also a risk that current low rates will be reversed by an increase in social smoking after lockdowns. The reduction in smoking is being undermined by misinformation about e-cigarettes and unfavourable regulatory treatment of nicotine pouches, heated tobacco, and snus. Britain’s exit from the European Union provides lawmakers the opportunity to pass vital regulatory reforms that will help more smokers switch to e-cigarettes, as well as other potential reduced-risk alternatives like nicotine pouches, heated tobacco and Swedish snus.