Britain should work to become a world leader in risk reduction products such as “hangover free alcohol” once Brexit takes place, according to a new report.
The report, by think tank the Adam Smith Institute, looks at innovations in vice, including synthetic alcohol, which it says is “up to 100 times safer than the real thing without the toxins”. As an additional benefit, the group says the drink “gives the drinkers the sensation of tipsiness without the loss of control”, and it says it therefore has the potential to save thousands of lives a year.
According to the Adam Smith Institute, EU and UK government regulations have held back the development of safer alternatives to drinking and smoking. The report said the government has done this “with public health officials pursuing abstinence campaigns to the detriment of risk reduction products that could save thousands more lives every year”.
The report includes interviews with the developer of a new synthetic alcohol, which reportedly gives users the sensation of being tipsy without the hangover or long term health hazards. The product, called ‘Alcosynth’, is currently “blighted” by regulations, which the report says is holding back safer products from customers.
E-Cigarettes are also discussed within the report. Again, it highlights regulation, which currently prevents e-cig companies from marketing their comparable health benefits to the public.
Sam Bowman, executive director of the Adam Smith Institute, said: “It is innovation not regulation that got us e-cigarettes. They emerged and prospered in spite of regulation, proving to be the best way to get people to quit quickly that we know of. But despite this, misguided public health officials are trying to clamp down on them because of evidence-free and dangerous fears that they ‘normalise’ smoking.
“Other products like synthetic alcohol and reduced-risk tobacco products promise to repeat the success of e-cigs for new people, but only if we let them. It is crucial that the government does not stand in the way of hangover-free alcohol.
“Regulation must be flexible and encouraging of new products that are safer than the vices they are competing with. Britain can be a world leader in safe alternatives to alcohol and cigarettes, but we need regulation that fosters those things instead of stamping them out.”
The group concluded that Theresa May’s government would be “wise to utilise Brexit to throw out regulation like the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive and save thousands of lives year”. It suggests replacing it with a system of “permissionless innovation”, where regulatory pathway for safer products to be developed and marketed is created.