The expense of vaping ought 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, an expert in substance use at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work, said folks poor countries must not be priced away from nicotine-based products that may potentially help them to to stop smoking.

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

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

Academics on the 2018 global tobacco and nicotine forum called for more research to the possible medical benefits of nicotine along with a focus on the growth and development of innovative nicotine-based products which can provide a “smoke-free society” and lower 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 kind of harm reduction, arguing that subjecting best electronic cigarette towards the same workplace restrictions as smoking could be thought of as an infringement of an individual’s human rights.

“We should treat vaping in a similar manner we treat use of mobile phones,” said Ridley. “The the easy way get people to quit [smoking] is to innovate with technology”.

Ridleytold the conference that, despite the industry’s continued give attention to promoting nicotine-based products as a type of harm reduction, public opinion was moving far from vaping because of 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 obtaining rival commercial interests having a goal of “annihilating” the industry. Warning of the damage due to “those using a vested interest in causing alarm”, he explained that while critics laboured to generate evidence to “maintain the narrative of harm”, technological advances meant the transition to vape-type products was very likely to become mandatory instead of voluntary.

There are 1.1 billion smokers worldwide and 6 million die every year as a direct result of smoking. An additional 890,000 people per year die prematurely because of second-hand smoke, based on the World Health Organization.

Just one cigarette contains greater than 200 carcinogenic chemicals, and also the addictive stimulant nicotine. Scientists and academics have up to now did not reach agreement on benefits and drawbacks of long-term nicotine use.

With a plenary session, clinical psychologist Karl Fagerström called for research into the positive advantages of nicotine, that he believes can assist people experiencing Alzheimer’s and depression. Also, he advised wgferg the industry should move from combustible to nicotine-based products.

“No the initial one is considering 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, using the Food and Drug Administration keen 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 to be addictive is justified”, adding that “80% of smokers wished they never started”.