How does (public health) ethics address “harm reduction”?
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Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Turkey
Publication date: 2019-03-26
Corresponding author
Dilek Aslan   

Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine, Turkey
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2019;5(Supplement):A34
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Tobacco related diseases and its global control is among prior issues of public health science. Recent threats also known as “new” products including e-cigarette, heated tobacco products, etc raise also “new” questions to be answered. Integrating ethical discussion(s) to the issue will probably widen the perspective(s) to protect the people from the risks of tobacco burden. In this presentation, it was aimed to understand how (public health) ethics discussed “harm reduction” using one scientific database.

Material and Methods:
“Pubmed” was searched on 28th of January, 2019 with the keywords “ethics” AND “harm reduction”. Total number of the articles accessed were 111. Publications were limited to the last five years (2014-2018). All of the abstracts were read and 98 articles were out of the scope because the articles were in other topic/content rather than tobacco. Only 13 articles were related with “ethics and (tobacco) harm reduction”. Using only one dataset with two keywords were major limitations.

Preliminary results:
Unfortunately, majority of the articles supported “harm reduction” practice(s). No comparisons were done with the non-smokers conflicting with the public health ethics perspective. “Unclear” aspect of harm reduction was only the issue of a couple of articles, thus, no strong recommendation for eliminating tobacco smoking was raised.

Ethics/public health ethics approach needs to highlight the importance of precautionary principles in harm reduction related discussion(s) clearly. Unfortunately, in the current accessed articles, such clear messages are thought to be missing. We should not forget that tobacco-free life is a basic human right for all without any discrimination.

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