Harm reduction and its opponents
Please read http://velvetgloveironfist.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/harm-reduction-and-its-opponents.html For the full Post by Christopher Snowdon.
How likely is it that a shift to safer nicotine products will increase net harm? Further research will quantify exactly how much safer e-cigarettes and snus are in comparison to conventional cigarettes, but there is little doubt that they are at least 90 per cent less hazardous and are probably in the region of 98-99.9 per cent less hazardous (Rodu, 2011; Cahn and Siegel, 2011). If so, the risk posed by these products is of a similar order to that of eating red meat, drinking alcohol in moderation, driving a car, sun-bathing or any of the other run-of-the-mill lifestyle choice.
Approximately twenty per cent of the UK population currently use nicotine, of whom the vast majority smoke cigarettes. The nicotine market cannot, therefore, increase by more than fivefold (100 per cent). If snus and e-cigarettes are 95 per cent less hazardous than cigarettes (a very conservative estimate), then there would have to be a more than twentyfold increase in the size of the nicotine market for net harm to rise above the current level. This is a mathematical impossibility.