Building toward a complete cessation of tobacco smoking through harm reduction
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Clinic of Social and Family Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece
Publication date: 2019-03-26
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2019;5(Supplement):A93
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Reduction of the tobacco use prevalence through prevention and treatment is widely supported by health professionals because of the potential of reducing the public health effects of tobacco use. There are several products available for treating tobacco dependence. The risk if using these products varies as the toxicity associated with those products differs from product to product too. Conventional cigarettes are the products which are at the top of the health risk/harm spectrum due to the fact that they are designed quite deliberately to create and sustain addiction to nicotine and also deliver harmful chemicals upon combustion. However, products such as Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), (gum, patches, etc) are at a very low or no health risk and can benefit people by delivering a steady or instant dose of medicinal nicotine in order to help them quit smoking. Made without tobacco (though the nicotine is derived from tobacco), these products pose minimal health risk and have been approved by regulatory bodies around the world as both safe and effective for treating tobacco dependence. Along the continuum of risk are products such as smokeless and dissolvable tobacco products as well as the ‘e-cigarette’, that pose less harm than cigarettes, but for which less is known concerning their impact and role in promoting complete abstinence from smoking. While these products are often collectively referred to as “Harm Reduction” approaches, the ultimate reduction of harm is achieved by complete abstinence from all tobacco use.
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