Safer nicotine products fall into four main categories:
E-cigarettes / vaping products allow the user to inhale nicotine in a vapour. There is no burning. Vaping products have a battery. The battery heats up the coil or atomiser and turns flavoured nicotine liquid into a vapour to be inhaled.
These devices heat short, densely packed sticks of tobacco to very high temperatures, but crucially the tobacco does not burn. That fact alone makes them safer than any form of combusted tobacco product. Heated tobacco products have been developed within the last decade.
Snus has been around for over 200 years. Invented in Sweden, snus is an oral tobacco product which has a remarkable safety record compared to other oral tobacco products in other parts of the world, especially those in south east Asia. Made from ground tobacco leaves and food-approved additives, Swedish-style snus is placed in the mouth (not chewed), often in small sachets.
Similarly, US oral smokeless also has a good safety record and comes in a variety of forms. It can be referred to as ‘dip’ or ‘chew’, although similar to snus, it is placed in the mouth and not chewed. Oral nicotine pouches which contain nicotine but no tobacco have come onto the market recently.
Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) are the medically approved way to consume nicotine without tobacco and are on the WHO’s List of Essential Medicines. Products include patches, gums, lozenges, sprays and inhalers.