The principle of harm reduction involves reducing risks and harms to individuals from behaviours that are otherwise difficult to prevent.
The addictive element in tobacco is nicotine but smokers are harmed primarily by other contituents of tobacco smoke. There is therefore a agenda to prevent harm by developing nicotine products that do not contain the harmful ingredients of tobacco smoke. Of these, NRT is the least hazardous and is now widely available in supermarkets, pharmacies and small stores. Other products such as electonic cigarettes are becoming increasing popular. Evidence shows that many smokers will choose a reduced harm alternative to tobacco, if given the choice.
Our work in this area includes:
Use of alternative nicotine products (e.g. e-cigarettes) efficacy and relative risks
Use of NRT for harm reduction purposes
Smokeless tobacco as a harm reduction approach
Reducing passive smoke exposure in homes and cars
Effectiveness of harm reduction strategies for alcohol
Young people and drinking
Modifying drinking glass shapes to reduce drinking rate