The Critical Importance of Engagement with the Public Health and Scientific Communities

Greg Wilson

Vice President
Regulatory Engagement

Altria Client Services

External engagement with our stakeholders is a critical aspect of pursuing our Vision through 2030 and helping to create an environment to support tobacco harm reduction for adult tobacco consumers. Among our many stakeholders are those in the public health and scientific communities. The Regulatory Affairs and Regulatory Science teams have long been focused on open and transparent engagement within these communities, including by publishing our work in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals (willing to accept industry-sponsored research); sharing research posters, making presentations and participating on panel discussions at important scientific conferences; initiating one-on-one engagements; and providing information on Altria’s dedicated science website.

Altria invests in rigorous scientific studies to support and expand our smoke-free tobacco products portfolio. These studies also support our goal to offer potentially less harmful smoke-free alternatives to adult smokers who can’t or won’t quit tobacco use. In fact, the Tobacco Control Act requires tobacco product manufacturers to generate significant scientific evidence to demonstrate that innovative smoke-free tobacco products are “appropriate for the protection of public health”. This information is then provided to the FDA as part of premarket tobacco product applications. Science- and evidence-based decision-making is foundational to FDA’s review of product applications and critical for tobacco harm reduction to succeed.

 

We also recognize the importance of sharing this type of scientific data and evidence with a broader array of stakeholders than just FDA.

 

Yet, despite the fact that there is a near consensus among tobacco product researchers that the best decision for an adult smoker who can’t or won’t quit is to switch completely to a smoke-free product, there are some in the public health and scientific communities who seek to limit our participation in scientific dialogue. This is unfortunate and only impedes the sharing of scientific information at arguably one of the most significant times in tobacco product research in decades.

We will continue to focus on delivering quality research and seeking out scientific exchanges that will advance harm reduction efforts. And, we remain committed to the scientific principles of transparency, unbiased data review, direct researcher engagement and open dialogue with all stakeholders, including the public health and scientific communities. Achieving our Vision requires it.


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