Monday, 1 August 2022

Nicotine use, past and present

Earlier today I mentioned a study that is a go-to resource for e-cigarette evidence. I now present you with the definitive short-read about the future of nicotine written by Clive Bates.

So, here is the interesting question. What if nicotine use is no longer all that harmful? What if the real problem was always the inhalation of toxic smoke while trying to consume nicotine for its benefits? As early as 1991, the leading medical journal The Lancet reflected on how the nicotine landscape might look after the year 2000: “There is no compelling objection to the recreational and even addictive use of nicotine provided it is not shown to be physically, psychologically or socially harmful to the user or to others.”

In my view, we have reached the position where smoke-free nicotine products, such as e-cigarettes, heated tobacco, smokeless tobacco or nicotine pouches, can provide nicotine at acceptably low risk. By acceptably low risk, I don’t mean perfect safety, but within society’s normal risk appetites for consumption and other recreational activities. If continuing innovation in the design of the products ultimately leads to smoking cigarettes becoming obsolete, then the vast burden of smoking-related disease will decline and fade away.

Clive discusses five objections to safe nicotine use and shows why these arguments don't stack up. Do read it all.


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