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Harm Reduct J. 2007 Nov 7;4:17.

Introducing oral tobacco for tobacco harm reduction: what are the main obstacles?

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Unité de Tabacologie, Service de Pneumologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Nancy, France.


With the number of smokers worldwide currently on the rise, the regular failure of smokers to give up their tobacco addiction, the direct role of smoke (and, to a much lesser extent, nicotine) in most tobacco-related diseases, and the availability of less toxic (but still addictive) oral tobacco products, the use of oral tobacco in lieu of smoking for tobacco harm reduction (HR) merits assessment. Instead of focusing on the activity itself, HR focuses on the risks related to the activity. Currently, tobacco HR is controversial, generally not discussed, and consequently, poorly evaluated. In this paper, we try to pinpoint some of the main reasons for this lack of interest or reluctance to carry out or fund this type of research. In this paper we deal with the following issues: the status of nicotine in society, the reluctance of the mainstream anti-tobacco lobby toward the HR approach, the absence of smokers from the debate, the lack of information disseminated to the general population and politicians, the need to protect young people, the role of physicians, the future of HR research, and the role of tobacco companies.

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