Combustion can be dangerous in all forms because it involves the rapid release of energy in the form of heat and light. When fuels, such as wood, gasoline, tobacco, or natural gas, are burned, they release energy that is used to power engines, heat homes, smoke, or cook food. However, the process of combustion also produces harmful by products, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter, which can have serious effects.
In addition to the risks associated with combustion by products, it can contribute to environmental problems. Burning fossil fuels, for example, releases greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, which contribute to climate change. Combustion also creates air pollution, which causes harm to plants, animals, and the overall ecosystem.
When a cigarette is lit, it goes through the same process of combustion, where the tobacco inside it burns, producing ash, heat, light, and smoke. The method of combustion generates thousands of chemicals apart from nicotine, many of which are harmful. These chemicals are the primary cause of the harm that is associated with the process of combustion.
The temperature during the combustion of tobacco can reach up to 900°C, which triggers the generation of up to 5,000 different chemicals as a by product. In recent years, scientific research and technological advancements have helped figure out a way to avoid the primary cause of harm associated with the consumption of tobacco. As a result of the latest scientific endeavours, many potentially reduced-risk alternatives have been developed to the conventional combustible smoking products. These potentially reduced-risk alternatives include non-combustible products such as THPs, e-cigarettes, and oral nicotine products.
These alternative products eliminate the process of combustion completely. They deliver the nicotine in a potentially less harmful way than conventional tobacco products such as cigars, pipes, and combustible cigarettes.
Though Tobacco Harm Reduction emphasizes the need to quit the behaviour of smoking combustible tobacco products, it also recognizes the importance of potentially less harmful alternatives that are substantiated by modern science for those who are unwilling to quit. Due to the potential these scientifically substantiated potentially reduced-risk alternatives present, many countries around the world have not only embraced Tobacco Harm Reduction as part of their national strategies to counter the risks associated with combustible tobacco consumption, but they have also seen significant results. It is essential to mention that currently available empirical and real-time data indicate that tobacco harm reduction (THR) interventions can offer considerable benefits. Providing smokers with options for potentially less harmful alternatives to smoking, while also reducing their overall combustible tobacco consumption, may result in a productivity boost.