Many stakeholders, including public health organizations, healthcare professionals and regulators, now recognize that new policies are required to complement prevention and cessation strategies. One example is the letter written to the WHO by 53 prominent public health advocates in 2014:


“The potential for tobacco harm reduction products to reduce the burden of smoking-related disease is very large, and these products could be among the most significant health innovations of the 21st century, perhaps saving hundreds of millions of lives.”

 Letter to Margaret Chan from specialists in nicotine science and public health policy



Achieving effective tobacco harm reduction

Integrating risk-reduction and acceptance for current smokers

For any smoke-free alternative to be successful in swiftly reducing harm compared with continued smoking, it has to fulfil two criteria: it must be scientifically substantiated as significantly less harmful than cigarettes; and, it should be satisfying for current smokers so that they completely switch.


The Harm reduction equation presented at the E-cigarette summit by Clive Bates


Leading tobacco policy experts acknowledge that successful harm reduction depends on smoker acceptance of alternative products. In 2007, the UK Royal College of Physicians stated that:

“The alternative sources of nicotine need to be acceptable to smokers as substitutes for cigarettes…”

A report by the Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians

As early as 1979, Dr Ernst Wynder noted:

“Research…should therefore be directed toward developing a [product] containing the lowest possible amount of harmful elements for all tobacco-related diseases, but one that has sufficient acceptability for the largest segment of smokers…”

Institute of Medicine (US) Clearing the Smoke: assessing the science base for tobacco harm reduction


Our approach is to develop a range of smoke-free products, so that every smoker who would otherwise continue to smoke cigarettes can find a suitable alternative that allows them to fully switch.



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