News; Nov 19, 2004 CET

Tobacco-based Harm Reduction is gaining more and more attention

Harm Reduction is a set of practical strategies that reduce negative consequences. As it relates to tobacco, an increasing number of experts maintain that certain forms of smokeless tobacco are less harmful than cigarette smoking, thus offering a reduced harm alternative for the consumer.

For a number of years an international dialogue has taken place surrounding the issue of tobacco harm reduction and today mainstream discussions surrounding alternatives to cigarette smoking often include an examination of reduced harm products. From public health advocates, scientific researchers, policymakers to other key influencers are joining together to discuss viable, less harmful tobacco alternatives in an attempt to lessen the health impact of smoking-related illness. Many, but not all, experts agree that certain forms of smokeless tobacco fit this reduced harm concept.

The genesis of tobacco based Harm Reduction can be traced to what researchers call the "Swedish Experience."

Sweden currently has the lowest level of tobacco-related mortality in the developed world, as well as the lowest percentage of male smokers (19%) of any European nation. Many health officials attribute this to the consumption of Swedish snus, made by Swedish Match.