27 May 2020

Dr. Gizelle Baker, Director Global Scientific Engagement, explains the importance of population-based studies and what questions need answering to understand the role of new smoke-free products in tobacco harm reduction.

In Japan, we can actually now move to population-based studies where you can realize how many people are non-smokers, how many use tobacco of some sort, how many of those use cigarettes, how many switch to smoke-free products, and how many are dual using. And these are where you start to really understand the trajectories and what’s happening at a population level.

This is important when you’re trying to achieve harm reduction. Can we reduce the number of people who are using cigarettes as their form of nicotine? Can we maximize the number that switch over and start using the smoke-free products? And can we minimize the number of people who were never smokers before who start with these products?

Because if we want to achieve the maximum amount of harm reduction, we need to maximize the number of smokers who switch away from cigarettes and minimize the number of unintended users. This could be non-smokers, people who want to quit, or people who have quit and might come back to these products. We need to make sure that they understand that these products are not for them.

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