‘Novel products’ have been available on the market for several years now. Whether these are heat-not-burn products, e-cigarettes or nicotine pouches, they all have one thing in common: their use does not involve a combustion process – as is the case with traditional tobacco products. From a logical and evidence-based point of view, it is therefore highly probable that the use of these products has a significantly lower harm potential than the use of traditional tobacco products.
This has led to the concept of ‘harm reduction’ entering the societal and political debate i.e. providing consumers of tobacco products with products that have lower harm potential.
We believe that the concept of harm reduction makes sense both from a pragmatic and ethical perspective. By offering them new products, tobacco product consumers are given the option to switch to products with potentially less harm to health than conventional tobacco products.
We are therefore of the opinion that the new products should nicht be placed in the same category as traditional tobacco products with regard to warning labels and taxation. The steering role of public health policy should instead keep open a path leading away from traditional tobacco products to these novel products because
- the consumer is given the opportunity to switch to potentially less harmful products, and also
- to allow the new products to reach market maturity; currently, the market share of novel products is still relatively small.
 Z.B., aber nicht nur: Abrams, David B. et al. (2018). Harm Minimization and Tobacco Control: Reframing Societal Views of Nicotine Use to Rapidly Save Lives, Annual Review of Public Health 39.