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On September 19th, 2022, the Inaugural New Approaches to Tobacco Control (NATC) conference took place at the Harvard Club of New York in Midtown, Manhattan. The event was co-chaired by Derek Yach and Nataliia Toropova, both esteemed global health professionals formerly with the World Health Organization (WHO). Derek Yach led the development of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), and Nataliia Toropova worked with the Eastern European sector of the Center for Tobacco Free Kids.
The mission of NATC is to bring tobacco harm reduction to the international policy stage as the world moves towards health improvement, sensible regulatory frameworks, and away from combustion tobacco. Specifically, this conference was created on the premise that Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and other novel nicotine products can save lives by converting combustion cigarette smokers to a reduced risk delivery platform. This switch could reduce 8 million premature deaths globally and save up to one billion lives this century that otherwise will end early due to tobacco use.
By combining perspectives of public governance, private industry, and finance, the New Approaches to Tobacco Control Conference aims to address several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The achievement of SDG 3.4, (reduction of non-communicable disease deaths) is unattainable unless adult smokers are supported to quit or switch to reduced risk nicotine products. In addition, SDGs related to hunger (2), gender (5), industry innovation (9),inequalities (10), climate action (13), deforestation (15) and partnerships (17) will benefit from accelerated efforts to end smoking.
NATC 2022 informed the global policy community with perspectives on regulatory, human rights, investment, and sustainability approaches, split into four sessions:
Session I: Spotlight on the UK approach and Implications for Other Countries
A central pillar of the event was the engagement of the UK with the publication of the report by Dr. Javed Khan OBE. See the UK government page. Further, the UK is the first country in the world that will allow a medicinal prescription of vaporizers for patients.
Respondents to Javed Khan included Dr. Jasjit Ahluwalia MD MPH MS, Professor of Social and Behavioral Science as well as Professor of Medicine at Brown University, whose US-based perspective was inclusive of the most vulnerable groups impacted by cigarette smoking.
Session II: Spotlight on Trust in Public Institutions, New Voices, and Human Rights Approaches
Featuring diverse voices including celebrity film maker Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri, Drug Policy Alliance founder Ethan Nadelmann, anesthesiologist John Oyston, and Interim Chair of the Department of Epidemiology Dr. Ray Niaura, Session II shared perspectives on the responsibilities of public leaders to engender institutional trust, and why that is crucial to achieving several SDGs. The speakers also assessed the implications that institutional shortfallings may have on the overall advancement of public health.
Session III: Spotlight on New Approaches to Economics and Investment
Martin Steinbauer of SMOOD moderated a session on investments in highly regulated industries, featuring Vivien Azer of Cowen as the anchor keynote, as well as Patricia I. Kovacevic and Sammi Toorish of Arcadian Capital.
Session IV: Spotlight on New Approaches to Health and Environmental Governance
The final session highlighted key industry innovations that support health and environmental sustainability, including synthetic nicotine manufacturing, of which an industry-wide adoption would significantly reduce environmental and humanitarian impacts of tobacco farming. Other innovations with the potential to positively impact global health include advanced medical devices to be used for nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in the pharmaceutical and medical space.
SMOOD’s very own Martin Steinbauer delivered a keynote announcing the launch of a new recycling pilot to select retailers, based on the success of a local grass-roots collection effort to reduce ENDS waste in densely populated urban areas. Steinbauer outlined an outside-of-the-box methodology for the launching, pricing, and scaling of a corporate-led, community-centric recycling and sustainability scheme.
New Approaches 2023 will take place again during UN week, with a Tobacco Control focus on Monday September 18th. This time New Approaches will feature a second day, highlighting cannabinoid research and regulation, on Tuesday September 19th.
Visit newapproaches.nyc for more information on 2022 and to register or participate in 2023.