Forum for a Civil Dialogue on Tobacco, Nicotine, and Alternative Products Harm Reduction

This year over 400,000 Americans will die prematurely due to cigarette smoking. Globally, close to eight million more smokers will die too early. While some forms of noncombustible tobacco and other nicotine products have risks, it is generally recognized that these products are significantly lower in risk than cigarettes or other combusted products.

The Institute for Environmental Negotiation has facilitated The Morven Dialogues on Tobacco, Nicotine and Alternative Products Harm Reduction since 2011. The Morven Dialogues give stakeholders and experts an opportunity to meet in a safe haven and have honest, constructive conversations about how to move forward in this new regulatory environment.

The topic of the first dialogue was focused on the ethics and viability of corporate (tobacco, pharmaceutical, biotech, food or other) funding that would support sound research and also protect the integrity of the research, the researcher and the academic institution. The March 2011 dialogue entitled “Using Corporate Funding to Support Independent Harm Reduction Research,” was attended by some two dozen people of highly diverse interests. Despite this not being an intended outcome, participants produced a set of consensus Core Principles that was released in October 2011.

In May 2012 a second dialogue held at Morven centered around “The Changing Environment of Tobacco, Nicotine and Alternative Product Regulation: Developing a More Coherent and Rational Approach.”  Due to FDA oversight, scientific research, innovation, and competition are changing very rapidly. This dynamic environment is influencing the development of new products, and the modification of existing ones, prompting tobacco stakeholders to consider how this growing spectrum of products might be better regulated based on risks, relative risks, and intended uses. The dialogue in May gave stakeholders and experts an opportunity to meet in a safe haven and have honest, constructive conversations about how to move forward in this new regulatory environment.

On June 13-14, 2013 approximately 20 people interested in harm reduction and with very diverse backgrounds met at ‘Morven’. This was the third of a series of on-going dialogues conducted by the Institute for Environmental Negotiation, and a continuation of earlier dialogues conducted in the 1990′s between the public health community and tobacco producers. These efforts compliment other dialogues and engagements that have been conducted and facilitated by the Food and Drug Administration and the Food Drug and Law Institute.

For more information, please visit http://ien.arch.virginia.edu/tobacco/.