A science-based process is vital
Tobacco product regulation is clearly an area of disease control in which a wide range of strategies will be essential to address the complex and dynamic nature of the problem. Accordingly, regulatory approaches must be flexible and evolutionary. This recommendation is not unique to tobacco control. In principle, it is similar to regulatory approaches to environmental protection, where strategies evolve to accommodate the changing world and evolving knowledge based on the results of earlier strategies. Malaria control is another example in which enormous scientific, practical, and political obstacles complicate the efforts to prevent exposure and treat those afflicted. In such areas, the goals of health promotion must be kept at the forefront, and the process must be incremental and guided by the best available science.
As evidenced from the conclusions of the conference, there is a strong consensus regarding major elements of tobacco product regulation, e.g., the need to provide consumers with meaningful information about their exposure to substances such as tar and nicotine. There was strong agreement that there is sufficient public health information and a scientific foundation to begin the process of tobacco product regulation and that such a process would be vital to curbing the global tobacco epidemic.