Ethics and Harm Reduction perspective in Tobacco Control

September 14, 2022

Panel Discussion
Thursday 12:00 - 13:00

Ethics and Harm Reduction perspective in Tobacco Control

Smoking cessation and prevention remain the most impactful, cost-effective interventions in medicine, but the global burden of smoking is still growing. Nicotine has an addictive potential but plays a minor role in smoking related mortality. If we eliminate the use of cigarette smoking, we may even be able to avoid as much as 90% of all lung cancers. Where cessation repeatedly fails, switching to less harmful products is expected to result in benefits for many smokers.

Could Tobacco Harm Reduction-THR become a game changer? Should existing smoking control strategies be complemented with harm reduction? We at SCOHRE believe that policies should be evidence-based and the generation of evidence (data) unrestricted. Should smokers be encouraged to switch to less harmful nicotine delivery systems? Does switching to less harmful products mean letting go of the “endgame”, i.e., a completely tobacco-free future? How ethical is to put barriers to smokers that would benefit from a switch to less harmful products, a lesser benefit versus “quitting” altogether but still a lot better than continuing smoking? Is the adoption of THR an effort to reduce the devastation of cigarettes or the perpetuation of the addiction to nicotine makes it redundant? What about the Japanese model? Cigarettes sold in Japan have declined 42 percent compared to 2016 and heated tobacco products are becoming mainstream. From 2017 onward investigations into Japanese population medical data have shown a downward trend in hospitalizations attributable to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and ischemic heart disease, which correlates closely with the proliferation of heated tobacco products*.

Moderator: Takis Vidalis


  • David T. Sweanor J.D.
  • Panos E. Vardas
  • Konstantinos Farsalinos


Ph.D., Senior Researcher, Legal Advisor
Hellenic National Commission for Bioethics & Technoethics; EGE member (European Commission)


Chair of the Advisory Board
Centre for Health Law, Policy & Ethics, University of Ottawa


Professor, MD, PhD (London, UK)
Chairman of Heart Sector, Hygeia Hospitals Group; Past President of the European Society of Cardiology; Visiting Professor, Imperial College, UK; Chief Strategy Officer of ESC/ European Heart Agency, Brussels


Adjunct Professor, King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia, Senior Researcher University of Patras, Greece School of Public Health, University of West Attica, Greece Data & Media Lab, University of Peloponnese