Tobacco Harm Reduction
Tobacco harm reduction (THR) is a public health strategy to lower the health risks associated with smoking tobacco, 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)
1. Temporary abstinence
2. Switching to non-tobacco nicotine containing products, such as pharmaceutical nicotine replacement therapies or currently (generally) unlicensed products such as electronic cigarettes
3. Switching to smokeless tobacco products such as Swedish snus
4. 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 likely 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.
It has been widely acknoweldged by industry professionals that electronic cigarettes have a dramatic effect on tobacco harm reduction and even so far as health professionals have requested they be available for doctors to prescribe electronic cigarettes as part of the NHS stop smoking scheme.
Wicked Wizard has invested a large amount of time conforming to the highest standards to assist in the move into tobacco harm reduction and has put the point across that through the introduction of an enjoyable experience a smoker is more likely to quit than through the use of conventional stop smoking products which many suggest are unpleasant and difficult to adjust to.