The National Tobacco Reform Initiative (NTRI) is officially announcing a new public stance in favor of vaping as an effective and safe tool for tobacco harm reduction. The NRTI is a major anti-tobacco group comprised of an international team of top scientists, medical professionals, public health experts, and political officials. Some of its more famous members include the Attorney General from the State of Iowa, Tom Miller and Derek Tach of the World Health Organization (WHO).
In a recent press release creatively entitled “E-cigarettes save lives,” the NRTI is not only endorsing vaping, it seems to be aggressively promoting it to anyone who will listen. What caused the change in tone? According to the NRTI, they came to their conclusion after carefully and thoroughly evaluating numerous peer-reviewed research papers which focus on the health risks of vaping versus smoking.
The term “peer-reviewed” is significant because so many anti-vaping studies are never reviewed or endorsed by others in the scientific community. Anyone with a laptop can publish a “vaping study” in any of the online medical journals. It is only those that are peer-reviewed by other well-established scientists in their respective fields that are considered the most reputable.
A Call to Action by the NRTI
On the home page of the NRTI website, administrators also post a three-point Call To Action which seems to be directed mainly towards federal public health officials regardless of their country of origin. However, the NRTI specifically mentions the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its controversial FDA deeming regulations that threaten to wipe out the American vaping industry by 2022. The three-point plan consists of the following.
1. Public health organizations should tax and regulate tobacco products based on their associated health risks rather than combining all nicotine and tobacco products into a single category.
2. Public health organizations should encourage medical providers, insurance companies, and employers of the health benefits of vaping compared to smoking.
3. Public health organizations should develop and implement a revised regulatory framework that is easily adaptable to the rapidly advancing technologies of nicotine replacement therapies and electronic cigarettes.
The NRTI also refers to the recently published report by the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) which states that e-cigarettes are not without health risks, but they are substantially less harmful that cumbustable tobacco products. This common-sense approach to vaping regulation must be considered by all public health organizations, including the FDA.