The nicotine market is evolving rapidly and diversifying: next to cigarettes, e-cigarettes and snus are gaining ground. More recently, e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products have appeared. Are these products really less risky? Addiction Switzerland clarify things in a folder which compiles the latest scientific results and reviews the characteristics of each product and its health risks. For people who can not stop smoking, switching to these alternatives may be wise, but the release of new products does not automatically lead to an improvement in terms of public health.
STATE OF PLAY ON TOBACCO, HEATED TOBACCO, E-CIGARETTE AND NICOTINE
Through his communiqué, Addiction Switzerland decided to make an inventory of all tobacco and nicotine products including electronic cigarette.
Most of the damage to health caused by nicotine consumption is due to the fact that nicotine is delivered by burning tobacco. On the market, the range of alternative products continues to grow. Are they really safer?
Addiction Switzerland draws up an inventory using the latest scientific knowledge. The foundation has focused on risk reduction at the individual level and on public health policy.
Lower individual risk with new products
For health, it is better not to start with nicotine products. Cigarette smoking, in particular, is highly addictive, making it difficult to get rid of it. For people who can not stop smoking, switching to less harmful alternatives can be a "lesser evil" and reduce health risks. What about these products?
- The heated tobacco products deliver fewer toxic substances than cigarettes because of lower temperatures. There is no combustion, but there is indeed pyrolysis, that is to say degradation under the effect of heat alone, without oxygen supply, resulting in the presence of smoke particles . It is unclear to what extent that really reduces the risks.
- With electronic cigarettesthere is no combustion, but the presence of a residue of toxic substances is established. The risk to health is lower than with cigarettes.
- For snus and snuffthere are long-term observations on the risks, which is not the case for the products mentioned above. These studies report a low risk to health.
Such products may also help some people to stop using nicotine products, but this varies from person to person, so it is impossible in the current state of knowledge to say that they are helps stop effectively. And as with all smoking cessation aids, success requires professional advice and support.
No damage reduction without strict policy
Just because a product like e-cigarette or snus reduces individual risk does not automatically reduce the number of deaths or costs to society if it is consumed on a large scale. The most recent scientific evidence shows that an improvement in public health is only possible if the switch to this type of product is accompanied by various measures to reduce the attractiveness of cigarettes (price, prohibition of advertising, reduction of nicotine content and additives that make the product appealing). It is to these elements that we owe the successes recorded in Great Britain and Sweden. In addition, it must be ensured that only smokers switch to these types of products and not young people who have not previously been users of nicotine products.
Switzerland is one of the industrialized countries where tobacco policy is the most liberal. If nothing is done to reduce the attractiveness of cigarettes (and all tobacco products), the (official) authorization of snus and e-cigarettes containing nicotine under the new Tobacco Products Act will further increase the harmful consequences for public health. The marketing of these new products will lead to an increase in their consumption without reducing the consumption of cigarettes. Through a targeted law, Switzerland would have the opportunity to significantly improve the health of the population.
You will find the complete file here: https://shop.addictionsuisse.ch/fr/fiches-d- information/680-produits-du-tabac.html