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Int J Drug Policy. 2007 Mar;18(2):70-4. Epub 2007 Jan 5.

Tobacco harm reduction: how rational public policy could transform a pandemic.

Abstract

Nicotine, at the dosage levels smokers seek, is a relatively innocuous drug commonly delivered by a highly harmful device, cigarette smoke. An intensifying pandemic of disease caused or exacerbated by smoking demands more effective policy responses than the current one: demanding that nicotine users abstain. A pragmatic response to the smoking problem is blocked by moralistic campaigns masquerading as public health, by divisions within the community of opponents to present policy, and by the public-health professions antipathy to any tobacco-control endeavours other than smoking cessation. Yet, numerous alternative systems for nicotine delivery exist, many of them far safer than smoking. A pragmatic, public-health approach to tobacco control would recognize a continuum of risk and encourage nicotine users to move themselves down the risk spectrum by choosing safer alternatives to smoking--without demanding abstinence.

PMID:
17689347
DOI:
10.1016/j.drugpo.2006.11.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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