There are three smoke-free nicotine products which have been used by millions of smokers to quit globally.
All these products deliver nicotine to satisfy nicotine cravings. Electronic cigarettes and HnB products have the added advantage of replicating the familiar hand-to-mouth ritual and sensations of smoking which smokers can find very hard to stop.
While not risk-free, the overwhelming scientific consensus is that these products deliver far lower levels of toxic and harmful compounds than combustible cigarettes. If a smoker switches completely from smoking he/she is likely to have substantial improvements in health.
Heated tobacco products heat processed tobacco leaf to create an aerosol, which users inhale into their lungs. Since the tobacco is only heated and not burned, the resulting aerosol can potentially contain substantially lower levels of the toxicants found in the smoke produced when tobacco is burned.
Snus is a moist, finely ground tobacco product usually supplied in sachets like small teabags which are placed under the upper lip. Snus provides a further opportunity for smokers to switch to potentially reduced-risk products. There are indications that the use of snus has had a positive effect on lessening the impact of smoking on public health.
Nicotine from snus is slowly absorbed through the lining of the mouth, delivering nicotine levels about twice as high as other nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) such as nicotine patch or gum, and similar to the levels from smoking. Studies show that the nicotine levels in the blood rise more quickly with the use of snus than from NRT, but are still slower than from smoking. Snus is considered by scientists to be at least 90% and possibly closer to 99%, less risky than smoking. A comprehensive review of the health effects of snus in 2011 found no evidence of any significant harmful effects.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that heat a liquid (usually containing nicotine) into an aerosol for inhalation. Vaping is used as a safer substitute by smokers who are unable or unwilling to quit smoking or nicotine with approved therapies. It is not recommended for non-smokers or young people under 18 years of age.
There is growing evidence that vaping has helped many smokers to quit. Millions of smokers have quit overseas with vaping and personal vaporizers are the most popular quitting aid in the United Kingdom, United States and Europe.