The term ‘tobacco harm reduction’ does not have a single meaning that is accepted by all. To the majority of public health policy makers, it means urging people not to start using tobacco products or to quit if they do. The US Institute of Medicine (IOM) defines it as “minimizing harms and decreasing total morbidity and mortality without completely eliminating tobacco and nicotine use”. The IOM concept is gaining acceptance among a section of the public health community who believe it an important addition to current smoking prevention and cessation efforts.
Our approach is to pursue the research, development and test marketing of innovative tobacco products that will have consumer acceptability and will be recognised by scientific and public health communities and regulators as posing reduced risks to health.
Our 2009 goals
We will strive to bring commercially viable, consumer acceptable reduced-risk products to market.
We will continue to develop and validate scientifically meaningful measurements for exposure to tobacco smoke toxicants and to investigate how we might measure potential harm;
We will conduct our first clinical study by end 2009 of a combustible prototype product that in smoking machine tests produces lower levels of certain smoke toxicants compared to conventional cigarettes;
We will continue to work with our External Scientific Panel to help inform our scientific research programme;
We will continue to present our scientific research at international conferences and publish it in peer-reviewed journals;
We will continue with two snus test markets where snus was not an existing category and aim to expand to a further test market during 2010; and
We will continue to engage with regulators and scientific, medical and public health stakeholders on the potential contribution snus could make in reducing the overall public health impact of tobacco use.