Tobacco harm reduction forms the basis of an ongoing campaign all over the world. In recent decades we opened our eyes to the devastating health implications of smoking tobacco, a trend that became so popular throughout the last century that it is currently classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the number one cause of preventable deaths worldwide. Nicotine, the addictive substance found in cigarettes, has long been associated directly with the health risks of tobacco smoking (including cancer and chronic lung disease).
However, while nicotine may be largely responsible for the addictive nature of traditional cigarette smoking, the chemical itself is not particularly harmful at all. Almost all addictive chemicals are damaging to some degree, but essentially nicotine is one of the least directly harmful ingredients found in the average cigarette. The whole point of tobacco harm reduction as a world health strategy is to establish that nicotine can be safely disassociated with the downsides of smoking tobacco, and enjoyed safely in other ways.
E-cigarettes are perhaps the most commonly found example of this, and are also the reason why we are taking an interest in this particular subject here. E-cigarettes are widely marketed as a substitute for real cigarettes, because they still provide the same nicotine buzz and a somewhat similar experience in terms of using the physical cigarette. Vaping has become more socially acceptable in the last few years, so the social factor of cigarette addiction is also partially accounted for.
Electronic cigarettes, crucially, come without the vast majority of the health risks that tobacco smoke presents, since the artificial “smoke” inhaled into the lungs is simply flavoured liquid vapour. For these reasons, e-cigs have been successfully marketed as an aid to quitting smoking for a number of years and are currently increasing in popularity. While there is also a large market for mods and different ways of vaping that don’t have much connection to a traditional smoking addiction, and many people who vape have no interest in smoking, the use of vaping has been widely attributed to its connection with tobacco harm reduction.