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Can't quit smoking? The EU aims to save 3.5 million lives thanks to alternative products! Prevention is better than cure

Kur mendojmë për reduktimin e dëmeve, në mënyrë të pashmangshme na vjen në mendje mjeku Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland (1762-1836) i cili citon se ‘Parandalimi është më i mire se kurimi’. Për duhanpirësit, kjo ose do të thotë të heqësh dorë ose të zgjedhësh alternativa që janë më pak të rrezikshme për shëndetin e tyre.

Can't quit smoking? The EU aims to save 3.5 million lives thanks to

Every day, during our daily routine we tend to find ways that can make our lives simpler and safer. For this we consider everything from equipping roads with new smart technologies to strengthening traffic rules. Also, when we encounter difficult terrain while giving the machine, we try to take appropriate measures in order to protect ourselves from possible dangers. Even in different sports such as skiing, we do not stop its exercise, but we ensure that we minimize the damage.

The same logic will have to be followed with the consumption of tobacco, finding optimal solutions on how to reduce the health damage stemming from addiction.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), strict government regulations and public health campaigns reduced smoking rates by 4.1% between 2005 and 2015. However, despite these many initiatives, millions of people continue to smoke, although they are completely aware of the risks. According to WHO estimates, over 1 billion people will use tobacco in 2025.

The question arises, what would be the most effective step?

The most effective step would of course be for everyone to quit smoking completely, but WHO figures show that nine out of ten smokers continue to smoke every year. This reality requires that we find other ways to reduce the negative impacts of traditional cigarette consumption. Harm reduction strategies include the use of alternatives developed through scientific and technological advances. These can be considered as one of many solutions, which include encouraging people to quit smoking or taking preventive measures.

The burning problem

According to the United Kingdom's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), nicotine is not responsible for disease and death but the carcinogenic toxins released in tobacco smoke. Toxic substances are released when tobacco is burned, but the risks are reduced when heated products are used.

This is why many countries have adopted innovative policies in this area. The United Kingdom recently launched a major campaign to make the country smoke-free by 2030. As part of this initiative, the British government plans to provide free e-cigarettes to one million smokers in England. In fact, with the "no smoking" campaign, the British government is aiming for a smoking rate of less than 5%.

Sales in Japan began to decline five times faster after heated tobacco products hit the market in 2017. A 2019 study by researchers at the American Cancer Society concluded that heated tobacco products reduced sales of cigarettes in Japan.

The example of Sweden

When it comes to nicotine consumption, Sweden has shown the way to help people quit smoking. The availability of alternative nicotine products has been proven to help in the fight against traditional cigarettes.

Over the past 20 years, Sweden has taken a number of systematic and progressive measures. Through the use of alternatives such as snus or oral nicotine pouches, Sweden has managed to reduce the potential risk faced by its citizens, already achieving a smoking rate of only around 5%.

According to the Institute for Tobacco Studies, these measures are leading to a reduction in deaths from smoking, which could save more than 3.5 million lives over the next ten years in the European Union alone.