Smoking tobacco is widely acknowledged as the leading cause of illness and death across the globe.
It’s estimated that more than 7 million people die each year due to smoking-related illnesses. According to the NHS, every year around 78,000 people die in the UK alone from smoking-related illnesses, and thousands more live with debilitating smoking-related illnesses.
These statistics are not limited to smokers themselves. Smoking also passively affects family members, and on a wider scale the general public.
Of the 7 million that die each year, it’s estimated that around 884,000 of those deaths were due to secondhand smoke.
The Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) public health strategy
The concept of Tobacco Harm Reduction actually dates back to at least 1976. A Professor by the name of Michael Russell published a medical article stating, “People smoke for the nicotine but they die from the tar.”
It’s been known for a long time that nicotine is the addictive chemical in tobacco-related products.
It wasn’t until more recent years, however, that large steps forward have been made to help reduce the number of smokers, the appeal of starting to smoke, and effective smoking cessation devices started entering the market.
Effective Tobacco Harm Reduction products
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products
One of the most effective smoking cessation products to enter the market has been Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) products.
The main reason most people smoke, and certainly the main reason for people failing to quit, is because they are addicted to nicotine.
Nicotine is the chemical that gives smokers that “hit”, or a satisfied feeling. It’s also the withdrawal from this chemical that causes most of the withdrawal symptoms smokers experience when trying to quit.
NRT products are designed to supply the user with nicotine, without the hundreds of other more harmful chemicals in cigarettes.
They are available in various forms. Such as inhalers, gums, patches, and nasal sprays.
E-cigarettes come in various shapes and sizes. The general idea behind them is to simulate the feel of a cigarette and/or supply nicotine, without supplying most of the harmful chemicals tobacco-related products contain.
Also known as Vape Pens and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), e-cigarettes still contain some chemicals.
The chemicals a user inhales varies depending on the “e-juice” they’re using. But most of the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes, such as carbon monoxide are not present.
Users have a good deal of flexibility when choosing and using an e-cigarette. It’s also an effective way to help smokers quit and the present less danger to the general public.
Why is Tobacco Harm Reduction important?
The World Health Organization (WHO) made a public statement that sums up the ripple effect smoking has on the health of the general public:
“Every person should be able to breathe tobacco-smoke-free-air.”
It’s not just a smoker’s health being compromised when smoking tobacco. They are also releasing dangerous airborne chemicals that can stay in the air for several hours and travel up to 20 feet.
We all have a duty of care when it comes to affecting the health of others though our own actions.
If you want to learn more about the overall Tobacco Harm Reduction public health strategy, or more specifically, what we’re doing here at Ventus Medical to develop safer NRT devices, please contact us and a member of our team will be happy to talk to you.