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The expense of vaping needs to be reduced for smokers in developing countries as an urgent “human rights issue”, scientific study has told a pro-tobacco conference in London.

Addressing a 300-strong audience of tobacco and vaping industry representatives, Helen Redmond, a professional in substance use at New York City University’s Silver School of Social Work, said folks poor countries really should not be priced from nicotine-based items that could potentially help them to stop smoking.

Redmond compared the medicinal qualities of nicotine with cannabis and stressed “the want to get vaping to the poorest, who want it most”.

“It’s a human rights issue – as a harm reduction device, prices must come down,” she said. “Nicotine is not a dirty drug, it will help with depression and anxiety.”

Academics at the 2018 global tobacco and nicotine forum called for further research in to the possible medical benefits associated with nicotine as well as a focus on the growth and development of innovative nicotine-based products that can provide a “smoke-free society” and minimize the harmful results of cigarettes.

Viscount Matt Ridley, an author and member of your home of Lords, joined the chorus of experts promoting vaping as a type of harm reduction, arguing that subjecting electronic cigarettes towards the same workplace restrictions as smoking could be viewed as an infringement of the individual’s human rights.

“We should treat vaping in the same way that people treat access to mobile phones,” said Ridley. “The best practice to get people to stop [smoking] is to innovate with technology”.

Ridleytold the conference that, despite the industry’s continued focus on promoting nicotine-based products as a form of harm reduction, public opinion was moving from vaping due to media “scare stories”. He compared the industry’s plight, particularly in the united states, for that faced by “bootleggers and baptists during prohibition”.

Clive Bates, director of advocacy group Counterfactual, described the views of anti-tobacco campaigners as “hostile and focused”, accusing them of having rival commercial interests using a goal of “annihilating” the market. Warning in the damage caused by “those having a vested desire for causing alarm”, he said that although critics laboured to produce evidence to “maintain the narrative of harm”, technological advances meant the transition to vape-type products was prone to become mandatory as opposed to voluntary.

You can find 1.1 billion smokers worldwide and 6 million die each year as being a direct result of smoking. A further 890,000 people annually die prematurely as a result of second-hand smoke, based on the World Health Organization.

Just one cigarette contains greater than 200 carcinogenic chemicals, along with the addictive stimulant nicotine. Scientists and academics have up to now failed to reach agreement on advantages and disadvantages of long-term nicotine use.

In a plenary session, clinical psychologist Karl Fagerström called for research into the positive benefits associated with nicotine, which he believes can help people experiencing Alzheimer’s and depression. Also, he advised wgferg the market should move from combustible to nicotine-based products.

“No one is interested in establishing what the benefits of smoking nicotine are,” Fagerström said.

Martin Jarvis, professor of health psychology at University College London, saidthe US was moving towards prohibition-type enforcement, with the Food and Drug Administration eager to reduce the level of nicotine in cigarettes.

“Society doesn’t understand nicotine,” said Jarvis, “because they believe that it is particularly bad.”

But Jarvis said “describing nicotine for being addictive is justified”, adding that “80% of smokers wished they never started”.