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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
|CALL FOR DOCTORS, HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS AND SCIENTISTS IN SUPPORT OF ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES.
As physicians and health professionals we see everyday patients who are severely affected by tobacco smoking, many of whom will eventually die or have their health severely affected despite our help and advice. Tobacco smoking remains the most serious public health issue in the world.
People smoke for the nicotine but die from the chemicals produced when tobacco is burned.i Unfortunately, currently available smoking cessation medications have limited efficacy and acceptability for the majority of smokers. However, we believe that there is a solution: the use of electronic cigarettes clearly has huge potential to help many smokers turn their backs on tobacco.
To this end, we strongly believe that ethically and scientifically speaking it is our responsibility to draw attention to the following:
1. It is the combustion of tobacco and the 4000 chemical substances that are produced when smoking cigarettes that are harmful to health of smokers, not the nicotine.
2. The dangers of electronic cigarettes are considerably lower than those of tobacco. From analysis of the constituents of e-cigarette vapour, e-cigarettes can be expected to be at least 95 to 99% safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes in terms of long-term health risks.
3. The vapour exhaled from e-cigarette users is highly unlikely to be harmful to bystanders; nicotine concentrations in exhaled vapour are too low to have pharmacological effects on bystanders.
4. Randomised controlled trials show that e-cigarettes are effective in smoking cessation and studies of the use of e-cigarettes in real world settings show that they are more effective than other means for stopping smoking including Nicotine Replacement Therapy.
5. It is estimated that for every one million people who switch from smoking to electronic cigarettes, some 6000 premature deaths a year would be averted.
6. E-cigarettes do not renormalise smoking. Vaping is not smoking. In many countries the rise in e-cigarette use has been accompanied by a continued decline in tobacco sales and prevalence of smoking.
The characteristics of electronic cigarettes should always be compared to those of conventional cigarettes, and discussion about the absolute long-term safety of electronic cigarettes must be contrasted ethically and scientifically with the absolute certainty of the harmfulness of smoked tobacco.
Already estimated 29m consumers in Europe use e-cigarettes.viii But we believe that the individual and public health gains associated with electronic cigarette use are held back by misconceptions about the product.
In light of the numerous studies undertaken to date we as health professionals cannot remain passive in the face of the clear public health benefits of electronic cigarettes.
We therefore recommend that our colleagues actively learn more about electronic cigarettes as a new public health tool in the ongoing global health campaign against tobacco-related diseases.
We call on our colleagues to sign this declaration in support of the merits of electronic cigarettes based on scientific evidence and ethical debate.
If you agree with the M.O.V.E statement please click on the image below to add your support.