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Glossary

Harm Reduction Equation

 

While smoking is addictive and can cause serious disease, it is estimated that more than a billion people will continue to smoke for the foreseeable future. 1

The harm reduction equation describes the criteria for making a significant impact on public health by converting the greatest number of existing adult smokers who would otherwise continue smoking to less-harmful alternatives. This is a model developed by several well-known public-health experts.

A few important steps are needed to make this commonsense approach a reality for millions of adult smokers. First, you need to invent less-harmful alternatives to cigarettes. Second, these alternatives should be appealing to adult smokers—in other words, they should deliver a taste and sensory experience that leads smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke to change completely to the better alternative.

We can achieve a significant public health benefit only when a large number of these smokers switch from cigarettes to better alternatives. That is why we are delivering a smoke-free future, and have invested in research and development to create our portfolio of smoke-free products that encourage adult smokers who would otherwise continue smoking to change to these better alternatives.

 

WHO global report on trends in prevalence of tobacco smoking 2000-2025, 2018.