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Medicalisation of Tobacco Isssues and Tobacco Harm Reduction

Posted by kamcha on 25 Feb 2010 at 11:19 GMT

There is apparently a striking contradiction betwen two statements contained in the Editorial.

1) "This has led to the medicalization of smoking cessation." No comment.

2) "Unlike the food and pharmaceutical industries, the business of tobacco involves selling a product for which there is no possible health benefit."

The last statement amounts to medicalising the issue again. Out of a long field experience in Asia and Africa, we can say that people know very well that they will not draw any health benefit from smoking. However, they do it for many other reasons and this is why tobacco harm reduction (Snus, Eclipse cigarette, E-cigarettes, etc.) is very important [1].

Smokeless tobacco is so widespread in Asia and Africa that replacing it, not with nicotine "replacement" gadgets but, with Snus or just cleaner forms of the existing products would save millions of lives right now. This is why we enthusiastically suggested its promotion, not only for American, Oceanian or European users but, above all, for Asians and Africans [2].


[1] Chaouachi K. Harm Reduction Techniques for Hookah (shisha, narghile, “water pipe”) Smoking of Tobacco Based Products. Med Hypotheses 2009 Oct;73(4):623-4.

[2] Sajid KM, Chaouachi K, Mahmood R. Hookah smoking and cancer. Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) levels in exclusive/ever hookah smokers. Harm Reduct J 2008 24 May;5(19). doi:10.1186/1477-7517-5-19


No competing interests declared.