Smoke-Free Environment With The Tabacco Harm Reduction Initiative

Dear Readers, 

Tobacco Harm Reduction Initiatives Will Help To Promote A Healthier Smoke-Free Environment

I still remember the moment I went for my very first employment medical check-up back in 2011, it is truly heart-broken when I found out that my X-Ray result turned out to be very alarming. Although I am not a smoker but growing up in the environment with smoking family and friends has indirectly impacted my health. Yes, I am diagnosed to be a secondhand smoker!
Secondhand smoke is far more dangerous because it contains more than 6,000 chemicals which hundreds are toxic and about 100 of them are cancerous. It is a combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette includes the smoke breathe out by smokers. Inhaling this smoke for longer period can be deadly as well as it can lead to suffer from chronic diseases and worse, causing death and disability. 

Over the years, many initiatives have been introduced by the experts as an alternative to curb smoking including the introduction of tobacco harm reduction strategies. The community has gain awareness especially from peer-to-peer about replacing a conventional cigarette with the Heat-Not-Burn products which is a better option. 

Replacing the conventional cigarette with the Heat-Not-Burn products will indirectly improve the air-quality at the hangout place, the house environment without bad odor and of course it is much healthier without the present of cigarette smoke.

What Is Tobacco Harm Reduction?

So, the question is "What is harm reduction?" in this context? 

It is an approach to reduce the harm of tobacco usage by encouraging those smokers who cannot quit or unwilling to stop smoking to switch to using nicotine in a less harmful form with a goal that they will be quitting the consumption of nicotine products altogether. 
In short, the tobacco harm reduction seeks to prevent or reduce the damage caused by the toxins generated by the tobacco combustion for smokers that is unable or unwilling to stop, rather than aiming at complete abstinence from nicotine use. 

"People smoke because they are addicted to nicotine and see a hit, but it is the other toxins in tobacco smoke that cause most of the harm." Dr. Chow, the President of Addiction Medicine Association of Malaysia (AMAM) quoted. 

There are various nicotine replacement therapy products that focuses on the substitution of lower-risk products for smoking by displacing combustible tobacco with non-combustible products that still deliver nicotine to the consumers with a lower toxic and risk profile. 
In general, there are three classes of products that can fulfill this role which are snus (oral use tobacco), vape products that are widely used and debatable in Malaysia as a replacement therapy and lastly, the heated tobacco that commonly known as the heat-not-burn products.  

TAR, Nicotine And Combustion

Now, let me ask you this question! Do you think the cigarette TAR is the same as the tar used for road construction? 

The answer is NO! It is totally different because cigarette tar is referring to the toxic chemical particle residue that left behind by burning tobacco, after removing nicotine and water from the cigarette smoke.
Cigarette tar is the tacky brown or yellow residue that possess health threat as the tar in the cigarette smoke can build up inside the lungs as it is inhaled. 

This is the real culprit that will turns our healthy pink lung tissue into grey and eventually becomes black as more tar accumulated over time. It can paralyze and then kill cilia in the airways that acts to trap pollutants, but when cilia are damaged, the toxins in tar can travel deeper into the lungs. 
On top of that, the cigarette tar not just affect our lungs, but it can be carried into the bloodstream and begin to move to other parts of our body, and lastly turns cancerous. Beyond cancer, tar toxins can lead to yellow-brown staining on smoker's teeth as well as causing several health conditions like diabetes, gum disease, heart disease or infertility. 

How about Nicotine? 

Nicotine is a chemical that contain nitrogen which is made by several types of plants including the tobacco plant or it also can be produced synthetically. Although it is addictive, but it is not the primary cause of smoking-related diseases. 

However, a sudden stop of consuming nicotine will lead to an experience withdrawal symptom such as craving, a sense of emptiness, anxiety, depression, moodiness, irritability and difficulty of focusing or paying attention.

Do you know how high the temperature will reach when you lit a cigarette? Not 100ºC, not 300ºC but 900ºC, guys! Can you imagine how hot the temperature is? Just compare it to the boiling water which is only at 100ºC. It is around 9x hotter than boiling water, ya!

Burning cigarette is a combustion process that involve complex system including many types of chemical reactions and physical processes. For this case, it is a burning combination of tobacco as a fuel and oxygen in the air and then, resulting in the formation of smoke that contain wide range of chemical, heat and ash. 
Oxygen from the air will reacts with carbonized tobacco that producing simple gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen, together with the heat that sustains burning. 

This burning process will then produce a complex mixture in every puff that known as cigarette smoke. This cigarette smoke is harmful to both the smokers and non-smokers as it contains more than 6,000 chemicals and at least 250 of them are known to be harmful such as hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide and ammonia. According to National Cancer Institute (NIH), it is at least 100 of these chemicals are carcinogenic. 

Why Heat-Not-Burn Product Might Be A Better Alternative For Smokers?

It is recommended to fully quitting smoking, but this is seemed to be not possible due to the addiction. However, there is always a better alternative that can change the society and deliver a better, smoke-free future as a goal. 

Recently year, "Heat-Not-Burn" products have been a word of mouth for many especially the smokers as these products are considered a safer way to satisfy a nicotine craving compared to the traditional cigarette. 

How does it differ from the cigarette and e-cigarettes?

Heat-Not-Burn (HNB) products still contain tobacco leaves, but it comes in an electronic device where the tobacco will be heated not burned at the temperature that below 350ºC. This temperature is way lower than the combustible cigarettes, but it is high enough to release the nicotine for the user. Consumer will still be able to taste the same and real tobacco taste, but this time without the fire, ash, or cigarette smoke with lesser smell too.
Although both are using electronic devices, Heat-Not-Burn products are also different from e-cigarette or famously known as vaping device. The temperature in the vaping devices is heated up to 250ºC only to produce the vapor but the chemical liquids used does not necessarily contain nicotine. 
These are some of my sharing about the smoke-free environment alternative that has been introduced as part of the tobacco harmful reduction initiative. So, what is your thought about this initiative? Do share with us in the comment below.
Signing Off For Now And Take Care Till We e-Meet Again On My Next Post. 
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  1. Thanks for the thorough sharing. I will share the information shared with my friends - hopefully they'll take the hint. Haha

  2. This is a good initiative. Malaysia needs to be a smoke-free and healthy country. Hehehe ^_^

  3. Tq sharing nti blhlah inform kat jwn2 yg mana family dorang merokok

  4. There are alternatives to reduce smoking and gradually move to a healthier lifestyle

  5. mmg kena berhenti tabiat merokok.. boleh lakukan secara perlahan-lahan dengan mengubah gaya hidup

  6. Satu inisiatif yang bagus.. harap dapat kurangkan ketagihan merokok demi kesihatan diri dan orang sekeliling..