Can Tobacco Harm Reduction Help to Reduce Potential Harms in Smokers?

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Can Tobacco Harm Reduction Help to Reduce Potential Harms in Smokers? | When talking about smokers what is the first thought that lingers around your head? For me of course the smoke itself, the smell indefinitely bad to the nonsmokers.

Recently, I went to a Cancer Awareness campaign and the doctor says that Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in adults who have never smoked. Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20–30%. Secondhand smoke causes more than 7,300 lung cancer deaths among U.S. nonsmokers each year.

tobacco harm reduction,

Thus, the Harm Awareness Association was established, and as an independent association that is at the forefront of reducing harm in every aspect of life. They exist to partner and champion consumers by providing them with ample information and making the public more informed about harm reduction initiatives.

Tobacco Harm Reduction 

What is Harm Reduction?

The guiding principle of Harm Reduction believes in opening up avenues to alternatives that can help prevent or eradicate harm-inducing habits or activities that are essential in order to build a better and healthier Malaysia.


What is Tobacco Harm Reduction?

Tobacco harm reduction (THR) believes that reducing the levels of harm from tobacco use among smokers is the priority because eliminating exposure to nicotine is not always achievable. Thus, the main objective of THR is to help smokers switch to less harmful alternatives.

Tobacco harm reduction is a key public health strategy.  In areas where “abstinence-only” approaches are ineffective, harm reduction is widely practiced in public health.  An example is the reduction of the harms of illicit drugs by providing syringe exchange of methadone.


Tobacco harm reduction aims to provide less harmful alternatives to smoked cigarettes to reduce the harms associated with smoked tobacco.


In practice, this primarily means encouraging smokers or would-be smokers to adopt non-combustible nicotine products such as e-cigarettes (vapes) rather than combustible, smoking products such as cigarettes.  The rationale is that these products are a lot less harmful than the alternative. 


Can Tobacco Harm Reduction Help to Reduce Potential Harms in Smokers?

Burning is Harmful

When tobacco is burned, it creates over 7,000 dangerous new chemicals, and just one puff could also release more than 70 cancer-causing chemicals! And as these puffs are released to the surroundings, they bring with them a long list of chronic smoking-related diseases such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), heart diseases, stroke and many more – harming not only the smokers, but also anyone that passes by and shares the same polluted air! 


If these 7,000 reasons are not enough, or they’ve tried and failed after so many attempts, they should avoid cigarettes that contain tobacco AND involve burning. Switch to less risky options, like the e-cigarettes or HNB (heat-not-burn) alternatives that do not burn tobacco, thus do not produce carbon monoxide and other dangerous chemicals.


For long -term effects, smoking can damage the internal organs of the body. Secondhand smoke known as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is cigarette smoke produced from the tip of a lit cigarette, then the smoke is exhaled by the smoker.


Cigarette smoke can cause various diseases to non-smoking adults such as lung cancer and heart disease. In addition, cigarette smoke can also cause asthma, respiratory infections, cough, otitis media (infection in the middle ear), and sudden infant and child death syndrome. Infants and children have a higher risk of developing health problems.


How Tobacco Harm Reduction Reduce the Potential Harms in Smokers?


tobacco harm reduction, tobacco harm reduction program malaysia, Can Tobacco Harm Reduction Help to Reduce Potential Harms in Smokers,

No harmful smoke

The Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group concludes that switching to electronic cigarettes is likely to lead to significant improvements in health[i]. Vaping lacks the most harmful components of conventional cigarettes – tar and nicotine. Public Health England concluded that they are 95% less harmful than cigarettes, but substantially more effective in delivering nicotine than medicinal nicotine products[ii]. This helps manage nicotine withdrawal with a fraction of the harm from tobacco and is delivered in a way that is far more acceptable to many smokers who want to quit.


Furthermore, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine in a vapor without tobacco or smoke. The device heats the liquid into an aerosol for inhalation, simulating the behavioral and sensory aspects of smoking. The liquid is usually made up of propylene glycol and glycerol, with or without nicotine and flavors, stored in disposable or refillable cartridges.


The nicotine content of e-cigarettes can vary from zero to up to 50 mg/mL. E-cigarette users are referred to as ‘vapers’ and e-cigarette use as ‘vaping’.[iii]


Anyway, there is no solid evidence on this issue and there are many debates around the world on how the Tobacco Harm Reduction can help to reduce potential harms in smokers. But anyhow, across the EU, 14% of smokers or ex-smokers who had tried e-cigarettes reported that they had helped them to stop smoking completely.[iv] Hence, the Tobacco Harm Reduction might help in reducing overall levels of smoking and also reduce harm in the population or the secondhand smoke, and this is great progress that we need to our world and generation.


I hope the great campaign by HAA will have more coverage in the future and more people will quit smoking and go for the better alternative, even though the best alternative is to quit smoking totally. 





Source :

 [i]Hartman-Noyce J, McRobbie H, et al. Electronic Cigarettes for Smoking Cessation. The Cochrane Library 2016

 [ii]McNeill A, Brose LS et al. Evidence Review of E-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. Public Health England. (2018)

 [iii] Hartmann-Boyce J, Begh R, Aveyard P. Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation. BMJ 2018;360:j5543.

 [iv] Nicotine without smoke. Tobacco harm reduction. A report by the Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians. April 2016


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  1. When tobacco is burned, it's harmful. many chemicals

  2. Kempen dah banyak buat tapi masih kurang kesedaran. Usaha yang ada ni sangat membantu. Slowly but surely. Tak suka bau asap rokok

  3. Tak suka juga asap rokok tp tu la..hurmm pasangan pun merokok hahhaha

  4. bagus kempen kesedaran macam ni kan..Jadi takdelah beri kesan kepada orang sekeliling

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