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Our Thoughts

//An open letter to the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco

Posted 11/08/2021 1:33pm


We are very disappointed and concerned to hear that the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) has decided not to permit tobacco manufacturers to attend their future conferences.

Imperial Brands has attended – and presented at – the SRNT’s Annual Meetings for a number of years, as well as having had our research published in their journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research. We consider them crucial platforms from which to share the continuing scientific substantiation of our portfolio of non-combustible nicotine products, as well as receive important feedback from the scientific community.

We believe this short-sighted decision has deeply negative consequences for the wider understanding and advocacy of tobacco harm reduction (THR) and non-combustible nicotine products, which we believe have the public health potential to be significantly harm reduced compared to continued combustible cigarette smoking.

Over the past four years, we have published 25 peer-reviewed papers around our vape, tobacco-free oral nicotine and heated tobacco research, presented 35 poster presentations and delivered 18 lectures at global conferences – including the SRNT. We also continue to make our data publicly available via our dedicated science website.

Imperial Brands believes this open, transparent and collaborative approach enhances the wider scientific understanding of non-combustible nicotine products and best serves the world’s billion-plus adults who continue to smoke.

Conversely, draconian bans like those imposed by the SRNT – undertaken without any meaningful dialogue with the tobacco industry – only serve to undermine any hard-won progress in evolving the fragmented consumer, media and regulatory discourse around THR and non-combustible nicotine products at a time when firm leadership is desperately needed on this topic.

In our opinion this ban also runs contrary to the SRNT’s stated Code of Conduct and Guiding Principles, as well as its foundational Purpose & Role. We fail to see how the SRNT can pertain to promote the “generation and dissemination of new knowledge concerning nicotine and tobacco” via a dedication to “open science without bias” by excluding many of the very manufacturers who continue to provide global regulators – including the US’s own Food and Drug Administration – with significant amounts of high quality scientific data around non-combustible tobacco and nicotine.

Imperial Brands continues to adhere closely to the SRNT’s Code of Conduct, and appeals to the Society’s Board to reconsider this retrograde step for open research. We hope you concur the discussion and dissemination of rigorous, peer-reviewed science should never be censored, and we welcome the opportunity to discuss how to potentially resolve this unfortunate situation.

Kind regards,
Joe Thompson
Group Science & Regulatory Affairs Director
Imperial Brands

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