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Tobacco harm reduction (THR) is a public health strategy to lower the health risks associated with using nicotine, as an example of the concept of harm reduction, a strategy for dealing with the abuse of other drugs. Smoking tobacco is widely acknowledged as a leading cause of illness and death. However, nicotine itself is not very harmful, as inferred from the long history of use for nicotine replacement therapy products. Thus, THR measures have been focused on reducing or eliminating the use of combustible tobacco by switching to other nicotine products, including:
- Cutting down (either long-term or before quitting smoking)
- Temporary abstinence
- Switching to non-tobacco nicotine containing products, such as pharmaceutical nicotine replacement therapies or products such as electronic cigarettes ( more favorably called PV’s or personal vaporizer).
- Switching to smokeless tobacco products such as Swedish snus
- Switching to non-combustible organic or additive-free tobacco products
It is widely acknowledged that discontinuation of all tobacco products confers the greatest lowering of risk. However, approved smoking cessation methods have a 90% failure rate, when used as directed. In addition, there is a considerable population of smokers who are unable or unwilling to achieve abstinence. Harm reduction is likely of substantial benefit to these smokers and public health. Providing reduced-harm alternatives to smokers is certain to result in lower total population risk than pursuing abstinence-only policies.
The strategy is controversial: proponents of tobacco harm reduction assert that lessening the health risk for the individual user is worthwhile and manifests over the population in fewer tobacco-related illnesses and deaths. Opponents argue that some aspects of harm reduction interfere with cessation and abstinence and might increase initiation. Source: Wikipedia
We believe based upon recent clinical studies, research and interventions by professional Tobacco Control Specialist, that the over-all benefit to human suffering demands those opposing THR re-consider their motivation for opposing less harmful products. We further believe modern technology be utilized to significantly decrease such harms to smokers and that promotion of personal vaporizers PV’s or ENDS ( electronic nicotine deliver systems ) as they are referred to by opponents; be considered as a ” primary ” tool for smokers seeking to end their smoking addiction.
Board of Directors THRA – Tobacco Harm Reduction Association of Canada