Introduction: Scientific discoveries over the past few decades have provided significant insight into the abuse liability and negative health consequences associated with tobacco and nicotine-containing products. While many of these advances have led to the development of policies and laws that regulate access to and formulations of these products, further research is critical to guide future regulatory efforts, especially as novel nicotine-containing products are introduced and selectively marketed to vulnerable populations.
Discussion: In this narrative review, we provide an overview of the scientific findings that have impacted regulatory policy and discuss considerations for further translation of science into policy decisions. We propose that open, bidirectional communication between scientists and policy makers is essential to develop transformative preventive- and intervention-focused policies and programs to reduce appeal, abuse liability, and toxicity of the products.
Conclusions: Through these types of interactions, collaborative efforts to inform and modify policy have the potential to significantly decrease the use of tobacco and alternative nicotine products and thus enhance health outcomes for individuals.
Implications: This work addresses current topics in the nicotine and tobacco research field to emphasize the importance of basic science research and provide examples of how it can be utilized to inform public policy. In addition to relaying current thoughts on the topic from experts in the field, the article encourages continued efforts and communication between basic scientists and policy officials.