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You may have heard of the term “Tobacco Harm Reduction” and wondered what exactly what that means. I’ll explain in detail what this means in detail further on in this blog, but to summarise it relates to products that have been created to help reduce the harmful effects that Tobacco has, whilst providing Nicotine in a safer way.
There has been several different products bought out onto the market that is widely popular with consumers, and the latest to join the line up is Nicotine Pouches. And in this blog, I’m going to take a look at the role of Nicotine Pouches when it comes to Tobacco Harm Reduction, and explain why I think these are potentially looking to become the safest option for Nicotine Replacement, as well as potentially gaining more popularity of use more than they have currently.
The Harm Tobacco Can Cause To A Person
Let’s face it, it’s a well known fact that smoking is bad for you, and to put it bluntly…smoking kills. Smoking is responsible for the most avoidable deaths every single year, and the morality rate from smoking related diseases every year globally is at astronomical numbers, and it’s not just deaths it’s causing either. Smoking can lead to various different diseases as well, such as Cancer, lung & heart disease, breathing conditions such as Asthma or COPD and many others. And treatment for people suffering from these diseases is costing the healthcare sectors around the world BILLIONS every single year from GP appointments, Hospital admissions as well as Community Care.
Tobacco that is unburnt is known to contain at least 16 carcinogens, and once that is lit to burn, the smoke is known to carry at least 60 carcinogens which is a massively scary thought. If you didn’t already know, Carcinogens are substances which may increase your risk of contracting Cancer and there’s at least 100 known carcinogens which can come from various different things, so just think that over 50% of them are contained with in tobacco smoke…pretty scary don’t you think?
Another scary factoid I’ve got for you, there’s approximately 1.3 billion people globally that are smokers of tobacco in some form. That’s over 1 Billion people putting themselves at risk of harm and freely ingesting all of those carcinogens on a daily, and likely frequent basis as well. And tobacco is known to be the cause of over 8 million deaths every single year! These deaths are classed as “avoidable” also due to people putting themselves at risk by choosing to smoke.
The primary reason for people continuing to smoke tobacco is due to the fact that they are most likely addicted to the Nicotine that is found in tobacco, and have likely formed somewhat of a dependency on it as well which is relatively easy to happen due to Nicotine’s highly addictive properties. But it is not harmful, and is not one of the carcinogens or cancer causing chemicals found in tobacco. So this is how Tobacco Harm Reduction products have come to market and being promoted…let’s look at this in more detail.
Tobacco Harm Reduction….What Is It?
Harm Reduction itself was first populated as a way to combat the use of illicit drugs, but it was then evolved into Tobacco Harm Reduction to focus primarily on ways to reduce the harm that tobacco causes, whilst still giving people the ability to consume Nicotine to combat cravings and aid in reducing their dependency on it also. The ideology around this is to ultimately reach abstinence from Nicotine, but this isn’t always realistic so the creation of alternative Nicotine delivery systems was created, which practically eliminates the harm from tobacco being bought to a person.
Taking a look at the spectrum of harm, at the very top is combustible tobacco products, namely cigarettes as these are the most used tobacco products globally and then going to the other end of the spectrum, we find medicinal Nicotine Replacement Therapy options, which is the name for things like Nicotine Pouches, Nicotine Gums and Sprays, the conventional methods that are prescribed by GPs to people who are wanting to quit smoking.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy is the name given to things that people use to replace the Nicotine they would have previously been getting from smoking cigarettes, just in a much safer way. And it’s not just the above mentioned that are classed as this, as there’s a couple of other things that have recently been put under this classification (albeit informally) and they are Electronic Cigarettes AND….Nicotine Pouches!
E-Cigarettes have started becoming peoples preferred method of NRT when they quit smoking as it’s the closest replica to smoking a cigarette without actually having to smoke one, it ticks all the boxes…inhaling, blowing out vapour (not smoke!) and ultimately getting Nicotine just like you would from smoking!
But the newest thing to come on to the market that seems to be rising in popularity amongst ex-smokers and also people who may be wanting to ditch the E-Cigarettes is Nicotine Pouches. Nicotine Pouches are an oral nicotine product that people can use to get a slow release of Nicotine over a gradual period of time. I’m going to now take a look at these in more detail and why they have a strong hold as a THR product and the role of them.
Nicotine Pouches And Tobacco Harm Reduction
Nicotine Pouches were created after being inspired by Snus pouches, which originate from Sweden. Snus pouches are a smokeless tobacco product, and are small pouches filled with a moist tobacco mix that people can place into the mouth and the nicotine from the tobacco is then absorbed via the gum.
Snus has been banned from sale in the EU and United Kingdom since the early 90s, with no plans to change the stance on it either. It was banned for a number of reasons, but the primary one was the risk involved with using them due to the carcinogens that are found in the tobacco and the high risk of people contracting oral cancer from using these.
And this is one of the primary reasons that Nicotine Pouches were created, so people could still use a smokeless/vapourless product to get Nicotine, just without the risk associated with Tobacco. And this is where the role of Nicotine Pouches in Tobacco Harm Reduction is absolutely pivotal.
Nicotine Pouches do not contain any form of tobacco whatsoever, and just contains a specially created powder Nicotine mix, plus flavourings and other essential ingredients needed to keep the solution moist and fine to use. They are completely smokeless/vapourless so people enjoy using them for the fact that there is no inhaling of anything into the lungs which reduces any potential risks associated with the act of inhaling, and also this means they can be used practically anywhere, notably in places where smoking/vaping is banned such as indoors public places, work places and public transport.
With them being an oral nicotine product, the risk of harm for the lungs and airways being damaged from inhaling smoke or vapour is eliminated which gives Nicotine Pouches a big boost in the right direction as a Tobacco Harm Reduction option.
I feel that Nicotine Pouches play a vital role in Tobacco Harm Reduction, and the promotion of using these should increase from what it is currently as there is plenty more that could be done to promote the safety and advantages of using these, so maybe that will come now that the number of people using them is increasing and things are heading in the right direction for the future of Nicotine Pouches!