THR 101 : INTRODUCTION TO TOBACCO HARM REDUCTION
If we ask among ourselves what is dangerous about smoking, cancer will be the most popular answer. But what causes cancer? How is it possible that such a tiny paper stick can cause such a scary disease? The answer is simple, though fatal – carcinogens.
A carcinogen is a substance that can be found in a tobacco smoke. Tobacco smoke carries with it over 6,000 chemicals and ultrafine particles, 80 of which are considered carcinogens, including the notorious nicotine. Exposure to a great amount of carcinogen in a long period can and will cause cancer. Apparently, there is only one way to produce it – that is through burning!
The shocking irony is, 64% smokers that are diagnosed with cancer continue to smoke! Maybe they think that it is too late, or maybe they are not aware that it affects not only them but their loved ones too, nobody knows for sure. But one thing for a fact is eliminating exposure to nicotine is not always possible.
Therefore, a number of experts have come up with a set of preventive principles called the Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR). Over the years, THR has introduced more and more preventive measures to help smokers switch to less harmful alternatives. The main objective is simple – to reduce level of harms from tobacco use among smokers, which will subsequently benefit the people around them as well.
One of the effective measures is to encourage them to switch to smoke-free alternatives, objectively preventing the production of carcinogens during the burning. The e-cigarettes or more popularly known as the ‘vapes’ is one of the most obvious examples of a smoke-free alternative. It uses electricity to heat the e-liquid, creating aerosol for the user to inhale instead of smoke. Other than that, there is also Heat-Not-Burn alternatives, which release nicotine from the tobacco by heating instead of burning them. Both alternatives do not produce smoke, thus will reduce the risk of affecting the surrounding community.
In a nutshell, smoking is never okay. But if these alternatives could be a much less harmful options and prevent the production of carcinogens altogether, why not? Yet still, the best option is to quit altogether, so that you will not have to worry about carcinogens or cancer!