Tobacco Asia

Volume 20, Number 5

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32 tobaccoasia / Issue 5, 2016 November / December By Nattira Medvedeva Increased efforts from anti-smoking organizations and the public health sector, combined with in- creasingly stringent regulations and higher taxes by governments, has had profound effects on the tobacco industry. Alarming, or even threatening, messages about how "smoking kills" – which, to a certain degree, can be exaggerated for dramatic ef- fect, are not objective, nor represent both sides of the issue – are constantly drilled into the mind of today's more health-conscious consumer, at both the conscious and sub-conscious levels. Aside from facing impending death due to their smoking (unlike non-smokers, as one would deduce from all the anti-smoking campaigns), smokers often find themselves socially ostracized as well. Governments and policymakers have also been making things much more difficult for smok- ers and for those in the tobacco industry. Smoking bans, increased taxes leading to increased prices, graphic warnings designed to horrify and terrify, plain packaging that removes any aspect of brand- ing – the list goes on and on. Huge investments in r&d from Big Tobacco Tobacco manufacturers have recognized the shift in consumer preference and the need for prod- ucts that are less harmful to people's health than the conventional cigarette while still offering the positive affects smokers associate with tobacco. As a result, huge investments have been poured into the research and development of reduced or modified risk tobacco products (MRTPs). Philip Morris International (PMI) has invested in the development and assessment of what it calls reduced-risk products (RRPs), defined as "a range of non-combustible alternatives to cigarettes with the potential to reduce individual risk and popula- tion harm in comparison with cigarette smoking." According to its first reduced-risk product scien- tific update released in September 2016, the com- pany says that "…alternative products that sig- nificantly reduced risk of disease compared with cigarette smoking are a fundamental complement to the regulatory efforts aimed at reducing smok- ing prevalence" and that its "…objective is to re- place cigarettes with RRPs as soon as possible." Moving Forward with Modified Risk Tobacco Products

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