make your voice heard

Q: What is the role of regulation?

A: Regulation is an important part of proper, functioning societies around the world. It is  defined as ‘a rule or directive made and maintained by an authority’ and is important as a means of protecting the rights and safety of citizens, as individuals but also as a society. 

Q: Who makes regulatory decisions?

A: A variety of people: It could be a public authority, government agency, health official or body, law maker or policy maker. Essentially it is any one or body responsible for exercising authority over some area of human activity.

Pol Solano
Regulation is an important part of proper, functioning societies around the world.

Q: Who makes regulatory decisions?

A: There are a few factors regulatory bodies consider when making decisions. In most cases, this depends on the matter at hand as well as the agency, body or individual making the decision. Some examples of factors that can influence change are:

  • Natural disasters
  • Pandemics
  • Innovation
  • Changes to technology
  • Bold action from communities
  • Changes in societal values and expectations

Q: Is there an example of a new product that triggered regulation change?

A: There are numerous examples of regulation changing to keep pace with emerging technologies, no more so than in recent years, given the rapid rate of technological progress. There have been updates in Europe, with EU data laws updated through the 2018 introduction of the GDPR, replacing the 1995 Data Protection Directive that was adopted when many areas of technology, in particular the internet, portable computing, and wearable technology, were in their infancy.

The advent of driverless car technology has provided interesting challenges for policymakers around the world. In the U.S. for instance, tentative steps are being taken to update old regulation that insisted on there being a driver behind the wheel of a car, and testing of driverless cars on public roads is now legal in many states. It is right that a rigorous review of the technology takes place before any comprehensive changes are made to the regulatory landscape, but it is another example of policymakers adapting to facilitate emerging technology.

Drone technology is another example. The EU moved to consolidate its regulation on drone operation after a big surge in use. New regulation added requirements to register drones, and tightened up the licensing process on a variety of drone categories.


Artificial intelligence (“AI”) is perhaps the most compelling example in the area of technology in recent years, where advances in computing power and programming techniques have already provoked many legislatures in the U.S. to ban AI that uses facial recognition in job interviews. However, it is the broader picture of potential uses of AI, that present society with benefits as well as risks, that needs carefully crafted regulation now so society can build confidence in AI for the future.

To conclude, the introduction of new products and technology means that the regulatory landscape around the world is constantly evolving. The rate of technological progress is unprecedented, and considered regulation on important technologies must be envisaged to protect and enhance the lives of the population. 


Q: Why is regulation important in the tobacco industry?

A: It is widely known that smoking is harmful to health. The best choice any adult smoker can make is to quit tobacco and nicotine products altogether. Regulations around the world are quite rightly in place to affect the supply and demand of cigarettes in order to encourage quitting and discourage uptake. Now, with the introduction of smoke-free products, what is needed is the right mix of policy measures to also acknowledge opportunities that innovation offers and the role these products can play in decreasing smoking prevalence.

Q: What can I do to support change and regulation?

A: There are a few things you can do to support change and regulation. Firstly, you should make sure you are educated on the laws and policies that impact the issues you care about – and those that are most important to your loved ones. Then, speak up and use your voice to support those that are championing a cause or change you believe in.

There are many practical things you can do if you'd like to support regulatory change. Here are some examples of what has been done in the past across the world:

  • Write a letter, or email your national and/or local elected officials
  • Join a consumer group
  • Submit comments in public consultations
  • Organize a petition
  • Call or request a meeting with decision maker
  • Social media activity:
    • Tweet politicians and decision makers, make a short home-made video testimonial on your positions, develop electronic “town hall” meetings with fellow consumers, politicians, stakeholders
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