Innovative nicotine products such as electronic cigarettes, heat-not-burn tobacco products and oral products like Sweden’s snus will help millions of smokers to quit smoking.
Prof. David T. Sweanor, chair of the advisory board of the Centre for Health Law, Policy & Ethics at the University of Ottawa and a public health expert believes the benefits of smoke-free nicotine products are less harmful alternatives to combustible cigarettes which cause 20,000 deaths a day globally.
According to Sweanor’s findings, various scientific studies have confirmed that smoke, not nicotine, is responsible for thousands of deaths caused by cigarette smoking each day. Smoke-free nicotine products such as e-cigarettes, heat-not-burn tobacco products and snus are significantly less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians state that e-cigarettes are likely to be at least 95-percent less harmful to humans than combustible tobacco.
Experts said these smoke-free alternatives also offer the same pleasure as cigarettes with less risk of the dangerous toxins and carcinogens found in tobacco smoke. A February 2019 clinical trial by UK’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) found that e-cigarette was twice as effective as nicotine replacement treatments such as patches and gum at helping smokers quit.
“We can use science, technology and reason to draft regulations that can end cigarette smoking, and thus address the 20,000 daily deaths globally that are caused by that smoking”, saidSweanor.
He cited the case of Japan where a third of its cigarette market disappeared in just over three years after heat-not-burn tobacco products became available in the country. “Product substitution works and appears to work better than any other strategy we have used to date in reducing cigarette smoking,” he said.
“Unfortunately, governments are lagging too far behind science and technology. They often fail to understand the absolutely enormous differences in risk between different nicotine products and inadvertently protect the cigarette business by seeing low-risk alternatives as a threat rather than an opportunity,” he said.
Sweanor said instead of insisting on “quit or die” strategies, governments should ensure that people who smoke cigarettes have truly viable options.
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