Tobacco control policies should embrace harm reduction products, nicotine experts say

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 29 May 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g3604
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

A group of international experts has urged the World Health Organization to support the use of tobacco harm reduction strategies, where smokers switch from tobacco to low risk nicotine based products such as electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) or snus (an oral tobacco), in discussions later this year on setting international tobacco control policy.

The group of specialists in nicotine science and public health policy have written to Margaret Chan, WHO director general, laying out the potential role for tobacco harm reduction in easing the burden of smoking related disease. In particular, they asked why legislation designed to control the use of traditional tobacco products to protect the public should not be applied to low risk nicotine based products. It would be “unethical and harmful” if policies inhibited the option to switch to tobacco harm reduction products, the group said.

National policies on harm reduction …

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