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Risk reduction should show the way for the new Minister of Health

On July 18, Charlie Stjerneklar, Head of Communications at Philip Morris Denmark, emphasised how important it was for the Danish Minister of Health, Magnus Heunicke, to show willingness to incorporate technological developments for risk-reducing products, into future tobacco policies.

More specifically, Philip Morris wants the Minister of Health to establish a national tobacco risk-reducing strategy, which is directly targeted towards the approx. 400,000 Danes who do not want to stop smoking. According to Charlie Stjerneklar, the need for this strategy must be seen in the light of the fact that regulations and tax increases are not sufficient on their own.

”We believe that tax increases and other anti-smoking actions should be seen in the context of a pragmatic approach to behavioral changes, which incorporate a national risk-reducing strategy. Instead of focusing solely on stopping smoking, Denmark should also consider incorporating both risk-reducing actions and products. However, it is important to emphasize that risk-reducing products are not entirely risk-free, but they expose the consumer to fewer harmful substances than cigarettes”, writes Charlie Stjerneklar.

Charlie Stjerneklar names England as an example of a country where risk-reduction has been actively integrated into the smoking policy, and where for the past many years e-cigarettes have been used as a way to stop smoking with great success.

”If we look at England, it has been successful with a targeted effort that is based on risk-reduction. This is confirmed in Public Health England's latest report from 2019. The figures show that 2.8 million English people use e-cigarettes and that the e-cigarette is the most popular tool to help them stop smoking.”, writes Charlie Stjerneklar.

The only way we can make considerable progress on the risk-reduction front in Denmark is if the Minister of Health decides to take up the dialogue. According to Charlie Stjerneklar, Magnus Heunicke should work together with the industry to agree on a unified objective and concrete solutions.

”We believe in the importance of dialogue. Without any dialogue between the industry and the authorities, we risk wasting time. A responsible dialogue with the tobacco industry does not mean putting all criticism aside. The best action will always be to stop smoking. But a responsible dialogue means that together we can examine how research, product innovation and technological advances can contribute to solving one of society's major challenges, and offer 400,000 Danish smokers better alternatives. Hence, our proposition to the Minister of Health is: Let us stand together in making Denmark the world's first smoke-free country”, writes Charlie Stjerneklar.

The full article can be read here (paywall).