Carbon monoxide, tar, and other toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke are the major components that cause serious damage to a smoker’s health. Nicotine, on the other hand, although not risk-free, is relatively less harmful as compared to the toxins present in smoke and is also not the primary cause of smoking-related diseases, contrary to the popular belief.
In fact, increasing scientific researches and evidences are now identifying nicotine to play an important role in reducing tobacco-related harm for smokers. Tobacco harm reduction (THR) strategy, an effective approach aimed at providing less-harmful alternatives to reduce the harm caused by smoking, identifies nicotine as an important factor in getting smokers to slowly quit cigarettesor to at least help adult smokers to switch to less harmful nicotine-containing tobacco products instead of letting them continue to smoke. Evidently, clean forms of nicotine are licensed to help smokers quit as they fulfill a smoker’s nicotine cravings while posing less harm than a cigarette.
Accepting nicotine as part of the solution to reduce smoking and related harm can open up multiple avenues of comparativelyless harmful options for smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke.
Alternatives such as heated tobacco products (HTPs), e-cigarettes, vapes, nicotine pouches, snus etc. are scientifically designed and classified as being less harmful than cigarettes and some are even acknowledged as practical and medically accepted ways of quitting smoking.
According to UK NHS (National Health Service), “Many thousands of people in the UK have already stopped smoking with the help of an e-cigarette. There’s growing evidence that they can be effective.” Nicotine patchesare also recognized as medicines that can help people to quit cigarettes.
While quitting cigarettes completelycan be difficult especially for long-term smokers, but it can be managed if done through easy and doable methods to prevent them for relapsing. One of them is shifting to smoke-free and less harmful products.
In the light of growing and already present scientific evidence, effective steps should be taken by the health experts and governments to educate smokers about all the options available that can be used to reduce the health risks of smoking. Smokers should be enabled to make their own decisions regarding their wellbeing and mindset in order to protect their rights as consumers while also inducing a positive attitude change towards their health.