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Harm Reduction
Smokeless Tobacco
Health Effects of ST
Electronic Cigarettes
Other Nicotine Products
All about Nicotine
Quitting Smoking or Switching
Who to Believe

Frequently Asked Questions: Menu

We have attempted to make most of the content widely accessible; for concise and basic overviews, see our Interviews with the Experts below. Some of the material below is necessarily technical. If you find anything to be confusing, or would like to see other glossary entries or references, contact us at admin at or write to our blog, and we will attempt to do a better job of explaining. We also provide references for some of the FAQ entries, some to popular information and some to the scientific literature.

Interviews with the Experts

Your Quick Link to the Most Asked Questions (MAQ)

**For discussion of the questions below use the menu at the left.

Harm Reduction in General

[1.0] What is Tobacco Harm Reduction?
[1.1] How can a smoker reduce his or her risk?
[1.2] What are "highly-reduced-risk nicotine products"?
[1.3] Isn't harm reduction a controversial idea?
[1.4] Can't I be 100% safe?
[1.5] Can it really work?

Smokeless Tobacco (ST)

[2.0] What is ST and why is it such a good substitute for cigarettes?
[2.1] Do I have to spit?
[2.2] Why is ST a good substitute source of nicotine?
[2.3] Are you trying to sell people on using ST?

Smokeless Tobacco and Your Health

[3.0] What are the health effects of ST?
[3.1] Doesn't ST cause oral cancer (cancer of the mouth)?
[3.2] But doesn't ST cause oral lesions which can become cancerous?
[3.3] Does ST tobacco cause other cancers?
[3.4] Does ST cause heart disease or stroke?
[3.5] What does this all mean for the total risk compared to smoking?
[3.6] Why do so many say "smokeless tobacco is not a safe alternative to cigarettes"?
[3.7] Are you saying that ST is harmless?
[3.8] What about all the chemicals in ST that I hear about?
[3.9] Doesn't ST contain fibreglass?
[3.9.1] I know someone (or read about someone) who got cancer from using ST. How do you explain that?

Electronic Cigarettes

[4.0] What are electronic cigarettes?
[4.1] Are they really safer than regular cigarettes?
[4.2] Are they as safe as using smokeless tobacco?
[4.3] How can I tell if I will like them?
[4.4] Where can I buy them?
[4.5] If these are so good, why aren't governments and anti-smoking groups supporting them?
[4.6] Can I use these in nonsmoking areas?
[4.7] Could these help me quit all nicotine use?

All about Nicotine (and Addiction)

[5.0] You keep talking about providing a less harmful source of nicotine. But isn't nicotine itself very bad for you?
[5.1] But isn't nicotine addictive?
[5.2] Does nicotine have any benefits?
[5.3] But isn't nicotine...?
[5.4] Does ST act as a "gateway", causing people to start smoking?

Other Nicotine Products

[6.0] Are products other than Western moist snuff good substitutes for cigarettes?
[6.1] Are pharmaceutical nicotine products as good a substitute for smoking as ST?
[6.2] Are pharmaceutical nicotine products less harmful than ST?
[6.3] Are smoking cigarettes made with pure tobacco or using hookahs any healthier than smoking regular cigarettes?
[6.4] You limited some of what you have written to modern Western ST products. What other products are there, and how are they different?

Quit or Switch?

[7.0] I am planning on quitting altogether. Why should I switch products?
[7.1] What if I end up using ST or e-cigarettes but don't quit smoking?
[7.2] Is there evidence that switching to ST or e-cigarettes can really help me quit smoking?
[7.3] Can I use ST or e-cigarettes to help me quit using nicotine entirely?
[7.4] I am sure I will quit smoking someday, so wouldn't it be better to just wait until then, rather than switching to another habit?
[7.5] I am interested in switching. Can I do it all at once?
[7.6] Isn't promoting ST just a tobacco industry strategy to keep their profits rolling in?

Who to Believe?

[8.0] If some of the information that is out there is so wrong, why do so many organizations/websites/people say it?
[8.1] Why should we believe you?
[8.2] Notice who is responding to arguments by their opponents, and who is not.
[8.3] Ask tough questions.
[8.4] Look for the most obviously invalid arguments.
[8.5] Do not be swayed by the sheer volume of misleading information.
[8.6] Why do anti-smoking advocates mostly seem to oppose tobacco harm reduction?
[8.7] Why should we believe you; we hear that you get money from the tobacco industry?
[8.8] Isn't it wrong that some of you get grants from organizations that will benefit from the harm reduction message?


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Inveterate smokers
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)
Pharmaceutical nicotine products
Quit or die