SCIENCE SHOULD DRIVE REGULATORY DECISION-MAKING
Regulation takes time, and many of the rules governing tobacco and nicotine use were written when a range of alternatives to smoking simply didn’t exist or were not widely available.
Thankfully, that’s no longer the case: a wave of scientific and technological advances over recent years have enabled the development of smoke-free alternatives. The best choice any smoker can make remains the same: quit tobacco and nicotine altogether. But many don’t. Given that, scientifically substantiated alternatives can be a much better choice than continued smoking.
The problem with burning
Not all tobacco and nicotine containing products are the same. Unlike cigarettes, smoke-free alternatives such as e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products (HTPs) and snus do not burn. This matters, because the primary cause of smoking-related disease is the combustion, which produces smoke that contains over 6,000 different chemicals—many of which have been classified by public health authorities as harmful or potentially harmful.
Eliminating the burning of tobacco means the levels of harmful chemicals generated can be significantly reduced compared with those present in cigarette smoke. Of course, there are a range of approaches used in smoke-free products to eliminate burning, so whether—and to what extent—a product reduces emissions of harmful chemicals compared with cigarette smoke should be scientifically assessed for each product.
Did you know?
Nicotine, while addictive and not risk-free, is not the primary cause of smoking-related diseases. It’s the other harmful and potentially harmful chemicals in smoke that are.
Smoke-free products are different from cigarettes, because they don’t burn
Why is nicotine present in smoke-free products?
Each adult smoker has their own reasons for smoking. For many, the taste, the ritual and sensory experience all play a part. Nicotine also plays a role. In order to switch completely to smoke-free alternatives, adults who would otherwise continue to smoke need to find these products acceptable substitutes.
Nicotine is not risk-free, and is addictive, but it isn’t the main cause of smoking related diseases. Certain people should not use products that contain nicotine. Minors should not use or have access to tobacco or nicotine-containing products. Nicotine products should not be used by non-nicotine users. Nicotine-containing products should also not be used during pregnancy or while breast-feeding. Nicotine-containing products should not be used by people who have or are at risk of heart disease, are diabetic, are epileptic or experience seizures.