Statement by Risk Analysis Division Director Jeff Stier at United Nations Interactive Hearing on the Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases

stier_smNew York, NY / Washington, D.C. – The following is a statement Risk Analysis Division Director Jeff Stier intends to deliver at today’s United Nations Interactive Hearing with Non-Governmental Organizations, Civil Society Organizations, the Private Sector and Academia on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). The meeting is being held in the lead-up to the July High Level meeting of the UN General Assembly on NCDs.

The upcoming high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on the prevention and control of NCDs presents a critical opportunity to generate truly global support for innovative policies that will help to reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases worldwide.

The meeting outcome should fully support the right of global citizens to health, meaning “that governments must generate conditions in which everyone can be as healthy as possible” (WHO).

There are real alternatives that will help consumers worldwide to become “as healthy as possible.” What is required is an innovative, risk-based approach to managing consumer behavior that promotes low risk alternatives to high risk behaviors through appropriate government regulation which allows for private sector driven innovation, as well as improved consumer awareness about the relative risks of different products.

Only by giving consumers access to lower risk alternatives, new technologies, and policies that permit those choices will we truly change the behaviors that lead to NCDs.

I was pleased to see that the U.S. Government’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recognized the reduced-risk approach to a key contributor to NCDs. Most recently, Mitch Zeller, the Director of the Center for Tobacco Products, explained the need to develop “a comprehensive FDA-wide nicotine regulatory policy that recognizes that some products are less risky than others.”

My hope is that Zeller’s philosophy carries over into the discussions of senior officials at the UN over the coming months, and the UN seizes this opportunity to support consumers who choose lower risk alternatives.

New York City-based Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., and heads its Risk Analysis Division. Stier is a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. Stier’s National Center op-eds have been published in top outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, Newsday, Forbes, the Washington Examiner and National Review Online. He also frequently discusses risk issues on Twitter at @JeffaStier.

Stier has testified at FDA scientific meetings, met with members of Congress and their staff about science policy, met with OMB/OIRA officials, and has submitted testimony to state government legislative hearings. Most recently, he testified before the science committee of the New York City Council about e-cigarettes and submitted testimony to the Oklahoma and Rhode Island legislatures on the same matter.

Stier previously worked in both the office of the mayor and in the corporation counsel’s office during the Giuliani administration in New York City. His responsibilities included planning environmental agency programs, legal analysis of proposed legislation, and health policy. Mr. Stier also is chairman of the board of the Jewish International Connection, NY. While earning his law degree at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, he served two terms as editor-in-chief of the Cardozo Law Forum.

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