How to Reduce the Harm of Tobacco


Gizelle Baker, vice president of global and science engagement at Philip Morris International (PMI), said one of the viable ways to harm smoking is to have alternative products that will reduce the risk to individuals.

Speaking at Open Science, a PMI event that focuses on the concept of tobacco harm reduction and the role scientifically proven smokeless products can play in complementing existing tobacco control measures, Baker said the next challenge available is to move people to products.

The world currently has an estimated 1.1 billion smokers, most of whom are at risk of cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and other smoking-related illnesses, fueling calls for aggressive efforts to reduce the harms of smoking. tobacco.

Baker noted that tested and proven scientific data that has indicated the possibility of a decreased risk of having cardiovascular disease when people stop smoking or, at a minimum, switch to the use of alternative products, is at the heart of the harm reduction campaign.

“Product acceptability is very important,” said Dr. Baker, an epidemiologist and tobacco harm reduction expert, noting that people who quit smoking completely have a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

“To achieve harm reduction, we need products that will reduce the risk to the people who use these products. The next is to get people to switch to these products and keep using them. There is a reduced risk of having cardiovascular disease when you quit smoking. There is also a reduction when people stop and switch to alternative products”

For his part, Peter Harper, a physician and medical oncologist who said studies of the global trend in smoking prevalence show there is a decrease, said new products, if used, can reduce the damage considerably.

“Advertising, high taxes have failed to discourage people from smoking. Currently, the world has 1.1 billion smokers, all of whom are at risk of lung cancer and other diseases. Therefore, the ideal is for smokers to quit.

“If they can’t quit, they have to use alternative products. However, the world must use all the tricks it can to get people to quit smoking,” added Harper.

The way to maximize harm reduction potential is to eliminate tobacco altogether, but using alternatives like heated tobacco products or e-cigarettes when quitting is not possible can help reduce harm.

Panelists at the event said evidence from research conducted so far suggests that using alternative products to cigarettes like vaping, without oral smoke, can significantly reduce the risk of tobacco-related diseases.

The panelist, however, admitted that more than anything people need big behavioral changes and insisted that while quitting smoking is still the best option, when that is not possible, smokers should move on. to alternative products to help reduce damage.


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