The World Health Organization (WHO) Scientific
Advisory Committee on Tobacco Product Regulation met for the first
time in Geneva on 12-13 October. As part of its initial meeting, WHO
extended an invitation to selected tobacco companies to provide
information on their company’s perspective on product modification
and their efforts to reduce the harm caused by tobacco products.
WHO wanted to hear from the tobacco companies about
the possible effect of changes to the design and manufacture of
tobacco products. How would these changes affect toxicity,
addictiveness, satisfaction, initiation of tobacco use, relapse in
former smokers, and impact on non-smokers? How could these changes and
their effects be measured?
Two tobacco companies, Philip Morris and British
American Tobacco (BAT), chose to address the Scientific Advisory
Committee and presented their perspectives. Prior to the
presentations, WHO indicated that the presentations in no way should
be interpreted as an endorsement of any of their products, nor should
it reflect a partnership, collaboration or dialogue.
The Committee is composed of scientists and tobacco
control experts from around the world. It was established as a result
of a recommendation of a WHO conference in Oslo, Norway earlier this
year. The Committee advises WHO and its 191 Member States on the
regulatory framework, policy development, and dissemination of
scientific information for tobacco products.
The WHO Scientific Advisory Committee on Tobacco
Product Regulation will hold regular meetings and continue to seek
broad input from all parties in an effort to reduce the massive harm
caused by the use of tobacco products among those who cannot or will
not discontinue the use of tobacco.