Female Smokers and Harm Reduction: Breaking Down the Knowledge Barrier
One of our main goals at Haypp is to inspire healthier enjoyment – encouraging smokers to ditch the cigarettes for harm reduction alternatives (such as nicotine pouches). While harm reduction is a term thrown around among smokers, the facts and statistics of harm reduction alternatives are not common knowledge. By providing clearer information, we can help reduce tobacco-related illnesses and deaths in the population: especially among women. Over one-third of female smokers report that clear information about the lower harm of alternative nicotine products could influence their willingness to switch from cigarettes to safer nicotine alternatives. This international women's day, the team at Haypp want to uncover the statistics and facts about harm reduction alternatives, and how important it is that we bridge the knowledge gap for women on this topic.
What are Harm Reduction Alternatives?
A word commonly used, but rarely defined. When we talk about harm reduction alternatives, we are referring to nicotine products that deliver nicotine to the consumer in a way that drastically reduces the harm compared to traditional smoking.
The Perception of Nicotine Pouches
While nicotine pouches are considered a harm reduction alternative, the lack of understanding about the product needs to be changed. We asked 1506 smokers to give us their perception of the harm of nicotine pouches compared to cigarettes.
How harmful do you think nicotine pouches/tobacco-free snus is compared to cigarettes?
The percentage of female smokers who believed that nicotine pouches are equally or more harmful than cigarettes or are unsure/do not know was five percentage points higher than for male smokers. The proportion of female smokers who believe that nicotine pouches are equally or more harmful than cigarettes is also disproportionate in other countries such as Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, and the United States.
Are Nicotine Pouches More Harmful than Cigarettes?
Alternative nicotine products, such as vapes or oral nicotine products, are proven to be at least 95 percent less harmful than traditional, combustible cigarettes.
Tobacco-free nicotine products not only eliminate the harmful carcinogens that smokers inhale when they use traditional cigarettes, they also have the added potential causing “accidental quitters”; smokers who are experimenting with an alternative nicotine product for other reasons than to quit smoking but end up ditching the traditional cigarettes anyway.
It's important to note that the most-researched path to improved health is, without question, quitting all nicotine and tobacco products. However, for those unable to quit completely, choosing alternatives to combustible products (such as cigarettes) is a good step toward reducing the rates of smoking-related deaths.
How harmful do you think vape is compared to cigarettes?
Even for vaping, a higher proportion of women smokers believe vaping is equally or more harmful, or are unsure of the harm of vapes compared to a cigarette. 43% of British smokers said that clear information about the lower harm of alternative nicotine products could influence their willingness to switch from cigarettes to alternative nicotine products (such as vapes and nicotine pouches).
Vapes as a Harm Reduction Approach
Vapes have recently become a popular alternative to smoking in the UK. In an evidence review
led by academics at King’s College London and commissioned by Public Health England, it was concluded that in the short and medium term, vaping poses a small fraction of the risks of smoking. It was stated in the 2015 report that vaping is at least 95% less harmful than smoking.
Why is it important to know the harm reduction facts?
As smoking rates decrease, there will be a reduction in smoking-related illnesses and deaths. According to the Lakeville report
, smokers are 25 times more likely to die from lung cancer than non-smokers and 2.5 times more likely to die from smoking-related diseases: with 92-97% of deaths from lung cancer and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) being attributed to smoking, and 50- 75% of cases of coronary heart disease cases being linked to smoking. This is part of the reason we need to be better educated about the harm reduction facts and statistics, and why we should welcome risk-reducing nicotine alternatives.
Women and Harm Reduction Alternatives
The group that are suffering the most from a lack of knowledge on harm reduction are women. Based on our research, female smokers have a knowledge gap when it comes to harm reduction alternatives. However, for those who know about the alternatives, it has had a positive impact. When we asked our customers why they started using nicotine pouches, the responses show that most people use nicotine pouches as a way to quit smoking. Especially among women in the UK, nicotine pouches have been a way to quit smoking, with around 59% changing to nicotine pouches as a way to help them quit smoking and 66% saying nicotine pouches helped them to give up cigarettes. Among the women who quit smoking in favour of nicotine pouches, 86% reported feeling better for making the switch.