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Int J Drug Policy. 2010 Mar;21(2):129-30. doi: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2009.10.008. Epub 2009 Nov 26.

Harm reduction policies for tobacco users.

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School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Herston Road, Herston, Queensland 4008, Australia.


Tobacco harm reduction is a controversial policy due to the experience with filtered and 'light' cigarettes and concerns that the tobacco industry will use reduced harm products to undermine tobacco control strategies. The most promising harm reduction products are high dose pharmaceutical nicotine preparations and low nitrosamine smokeless tobacco, such as Swedish snus. However, despite widespread availability, existing pharmaceutical nicotine preparations have not been taken up by smokers as an alternative to smoking. In Sweden, increased snus use was associated with decreased cigarette smoking and mortality from tobacco-related disease. We suggest a graduated series of policies to explore of the public health costs and benefits of encouraging smokers to switch to these less harmful nicotine products.

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