I finished writing up my views of the implications of the new UK National Institute for Health Care Excellence’s Guidance on one aspect of tobacco harm reduction. They are in a fairly long post at EP-ology.
As a brief summary, there has been a lot of concern expressed about that Guidance because it is solely focused on “licensed” products (i.e., NRTs) as substitutes for smoking. However, I am much more positive about it. It does actively call for clinicians and information providers to advise smokers to switch or cut down using a low-risk substitute, even if the specific statements are only about a narrow and ineffective set of products. This is positive in itself. Moreover, there is almost no hint of negativeness about other THR products. Thus, any educated and open-eyed reader (or those of us who wish to cite the Guidance as endorsement of our positions) can easily extrapolate the implications — everything they say about the benefits of THR using “licensed” products applies equally to other roughly-equally-low-risk products.
In addition, while the Guidance does not explicitly acknowledge the benefits of tobacco use, it does repeatedly cite what people want to do as a reason for this approach. This is perhaps a bit subtle, but it is a radical position, recognizing that people get benefits from smoking that are, at least partially, replaced by substitute products, and that these consumption choices are something people want or might want, not merely diseases to be cured.