RELX sees e-cigarettes breaking chain of traditional nicotine products

Harm reduction is a tested approach that was adopted across several industries long before tobacco, explains Bing Du, co-founder and CEO at RELX International

Follow us on Google News-khaleejtimes

Bing Du, co-founder and CEO at RELX International - Supplied
Bing Du, co-founder and CEO at RELX International - Supplied

Rohma Sadaqat

Published: Mon 27 Jun 2022, 7:08 PM

In countries where e-cigarettes, and novel nicotine products in general, are gaining traction, there has been a noticeable downwards trend in traditional cigarette smoking, says Bing Du, co-founder and CEO at RELX International.

“This correlation indicates that when e-cigarette uptake among adult smokers increases, traditional cigarette smoking goes down,” he told Khaleej Times. “When we look at countries such as the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and many others, we can clearly see an upwards pattern of e-cigarette adoption versus a decline in traditional cigarettes use.”

This trend, he pointed out, is in line with RELX International’s objective of shifting adult smokers away from the most harmful form of consuming nicotine – cigarettes – towards scientifically substantiated better alternatives such as electronic cigarettes. “Harm reduction is a tested approach that was adopted across several industries long before tobacco. It is as simple as encouraging populations to leave harmful habits behind, in favour of better and less harmful ones.”

“Harm reduction, as a principle, depends on two factors which must coincide: products having a lower risk profile, and adult smokers mass adopting them,” Du explained. “That way only we can fulfil the potential that e-cigarettes hold in terms of complementing public health policies by supporting adult smokers’ switching attempts to better alternatives.”

Du established RELX International in 2019, and the company currently sells RELX branded e-cigarette products in numerous countries around the world including China, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, the UAE, and Kuwait.

Asked if e-cigarettes really are the key to breaking chain smoking habits, Du noted: “E-cigarettes have been conceived as a better alternative to an existing problem which is cigarette smoking. We, alongside regulators, public health experts and other stakeholders, are working hard to replace cigarettes with those better alternatives as soon as possible. To this end, we have been ramping up our research and development capabilities, carrying out advanced scientific studies, and exploring further innovative solutions to ensure e-cigarettes become a viable and satisfying alternatives for adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke.”

Cigarette smoke contains thousands of distinct constituents, many toxic or carcinogenic. These toxic by-products of combustion, not nicotine, are the primary causes of smoking-related death and disease. E-cigarettes do not burn tobacco leaves, but use electronic heat sources to aerosolise a nicotine-containing liquid that the user then inhales. This provides nicotine without burning tobacco, thus significantly reducing exposure to the harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke.

“Reduced toxicant exposure is the primary benefit of switching to an e-cigarette, but nicotine delivery must be competitive with a combustible cigarette. This is an important factor in determining whether adult smokers are likely to continue using an e-cigarette instead of regular traditional cigarettes – a critical component of tobacco harm reduction,” Du stated.

While welcoming “fair and healthy competition” in the field of e-cigarettes – which Du believes is essential in raising awareness about the huge public health potential e-cigarettes hold – he revealed that the illicit trade of e-cigarettes is becoming rampant is an increasing number of markets.

“On this note, our team across the region, the UAE included, has carried out several training sessions with the Customs Authority and various law enforcement bodies, to support their efforts in identifying and fighting the illicit trade of e-cigarette products, be it contraband or counterfeit. We also provide authorities with intel on products that are either non-compliant with existing technical standards or simply not notified to be sold in the market,” he said.

RELX International’s Guardian Program also involves a series of measures to prevent minors from buying and using e-cigarette products and to educate adult smokers to abstain from using e-cigarettes in front of minors. This company-wide initiative stretches from product development to sales, preventing and discouraging the use of e-cigarettes by minors through concerted efforts with retailers to step up on-site identification. All RELX branded stores are required to follow strict operational guidelines, and a strict penalty system is applied on retailers and shop operators who violate these guidelines.

More news from