Harm Reduction: Fact or Fiction?

Harm Reduction: Fact or Fiction?

One of our main goals at Nicokick is to inspire healthier enjoyment - encouraging smokers to ditch the cigarettes for other harm reduction alternatives (such as nicotine pouches). Recently, we submitted our letter to the Cancer Moonshot Initiative - a commitment from President Biden with the goals of cutting cancer deaths by 50% in the next 25 years and turning fatal cancers into treatable ones. Every year, nearly 500,000 Americans die from smoking-related diseases. Smoking is the leading cause of cancer deaths, with more than 160,000 people dying every year from cancers directly attributed to tobacco. With these shocking statistics, we uncover the facts and fiction of harm reduction alternatives, and how important tobacco harm reduction is in the fight against cancer.

Nicotine Pouches are More Harmful than Cigarettes.

This is a myth. Alternative nicotine products, such as vapor products or oral nicotine products, are proven to be at least 95 percent less harmful than combustible cigarettes. 

It's important to note that the most well-documented path to improved health is, without question, complete abstinence from all tobacco- and nicotine products. However, for those unable to quit, abstaining from the use of combusted products is also a viable step toward reducing morbidity.


Tobacco-free nicotine products not only eliminate the harmful carcinogens that smokers inhale when they use combustible cigarettes, they also have the added potential of producing “accidental quitters”; smokers who are experimenting with an alternative nicotine product for other reasons than to quit smoking, but as a result of this experimentation end up quitting smoking. 

Through our e-commerce brand Nicokick, we have found that nearly 6 out of 10 customers are former smokers that both actively and accidentally have chosen to quit smoking with the help of oral nicotine pouches. Considering data from all companies within Haypp Group, this effect amounts to more than 117 000 lives saved. 

Unfortunately, many are not aware that the health risks of various tobacco- and nicotine products differ. According to a recent survey, conducted by YouGov on behalf of Nicokick, 8 out of 10 smokers are either not familiar with the health risks of nicotine pouches or believe that they are equally or more harmful than cigarettes. The percentage is roughly the same for e-cigarettes.

The belief that nicotine pouches are equally or more harmful than cigarettes is more prevalent among women. This creates less incentive for smokers, and especially female ones, to switch to less harmful products.


Nicotine Pouches Cost More than Cigarettes

Nicotine pouches cost, on average, $1,606 per year (pre-excise and sales tax) compared to cigarettes that cost in the region of $2,226-$3,832  per year (pre-excise and sales tax). The prices of cigarettes in the U.S. is around 50% higher than the global average due to high fees and taxes being placed on tobacco products by the state and federal governments. In addition, over $170 billion of medical bills in the U.S. are due to smoking-related issues - adding an extra $1,400 per year of expenses on average for each smoker.

Harm Reduction Alternatives can Impact Society for the Better

Tobacco harm reduction is widely considered one of the most effective practices in preventing deaths from tobacco-related cancers, by leading existing smokers to quit. In our submission to the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, Nicokick highlighted the importance of adopting a harm reduction perspective. Research has long shown the connection between cancer and cigarette smoking; according to the CDC and NCI, close to 9 out of 10 lung cancers deaths are caused by smoking, constituting one-third of all cancer deaths. Nearly 500,000 premature deaths, including 160,000 cancer deaths each year, could be avoided by implementing a harm reduction perspective. 

Numerous studies and data demonstrate that adult smokers can successfully quit cigarettes and improve their health by switching to less harmful nicotine products. The low lung cancer rates in Sweden have, for instance, received considerable attention. According to the latest Country Cancer Profile published by the European Commission and OECD, Sweden’s lung cancer rate (7 percent) is half the EU average (14 percent). Thanks to the prevalence of Swedish snus, Sweden has the lowest number of smoking-attributable lung cancer deaths in Europe. 

We encourage you to share your ideas for how the government can focus these efforts and your knowledge from your experience with cancer.