Nicotine in smoke-free products

      The role of nicotine in tobacco harm reduction

      What is nicotine?

      Nicotine is a well-known component of tobacco and tobacco-containing products. Nicotine is part of what makes cigarettes addictive. Nicotine is not risk free. It is also not the primary cause of smoking-related diseases. In fact, nicotine is an important part of tobacco harm reduction. Because it is one of the reasons people smoke cigarettes, nicotine’s presence in products that are designed to be less harmful than cigarettes can help adults to switch instead of continuing smoking cigarettes.

      “Nicotine itself is not especially hazardous, and if nicotine could be provided in a form that is acceptable and effective as a cigarette substitute, millions of lives could be saved.”

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      Nicotine can help adult smokers switch to better products

      For a smoke-free product to be successful in reducing harm, the product must present less risk compared with continued smoking, and it must be an acceptable alternative for current adult smokers so that they fully switch. Nicotine is one of the important factors in getting adult smokers to make that switch and many smokers need the rate and concentration of uptake to be comparable to cigarettes to make a smoke-free product acceptable, in addition to taste and other sensory aspects. In other words, the nicotine uptake is important in achieving acceptance by adult smokers.

      Is nicotine in smoke-free products still risky?

      Smoke-free products, with few exceptions, contain nicotine which is addictive and not risk free. Minors, pregnant women or nursing mothers, and people with existing conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes should not use tobacco- or nicotine-containing products. Minors, in particular, should not have access to tobacco- or nicotine-containing products.

      As this report of the Surgeon General 2010 indicates, several independent studies have shown that although nicotine is not risk free, it is not the primary cause of smoking-related diseases. It is the high levels of harmful and potentially harmful constituents generated by the burning of tobacco.  

      Eliminating combustion and consequently dramatically reducing the levels of harmful compounds – known as Harmful and Potentially Harmful Constituents or HPHCs – is the cornerstone of smoke-free product development.

      While reducing or eliminating HPHCs, our goal is also to offer a taste ritual and nicotine level comparable to cigarettes to help ensure that adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke can fully switch.