Why cigarettes are bad for health
Many people believe that nicotine or tar are the biggest problems with smoking, but that’s not correct. It’s the thousands of chemicals contained in cigarette smoke, largely formed when tobacco is burned, that are the biggest issue. Among the 6,000 chemicals produced in a burning cigarette, around 100 of these are associated with smoking-related diseases. They’re present in high concentrations in the cigarette smoke and inhaled, and their damage to the body builds up over time, leading to disease. The more smokers who develop smoking-related diseases, the bigger the impact on public health.
Reducing this negative impact on public health requires fewer people to start smoking, and more people to quit smoking altogether. However, according to current trends, approximately 1 billion people will continue to smoke cigarettes in the foreseeable future.
How smoke-free products can make a difference
Two things need to happen for smoke-free products to make a difference. First, the product needs to be developed and scientifically assessed to be sure whether the product is less harmful than cigarettes. Second, men and women who smoke cigarettes should be encouraged to switch to such a product, if they would otherwise continue to smoke cigarettes. A product that presents less risk than cigarettes, with a high level of acceptance and switching among adults who would otherwise continue to smoke, can have a dramatic impact on public health. An impact for the better.
It sounds simple, but there's a lot of work and scientific research involved, as our scientists described in this virtual conference.