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NIDA

Tobacco/Nicotine

Are There Safe Tobacco Products?

Doctors reviewing a lung scan.

The adverse health effects of tobacco use are well known, yet many people do not want to quit or have difficulty quitting. As a result, there has been a recent surge in the development of tobacco products that claim to reduce exposure to harmful tobacco constituents or to have fewer health risks than conventional products. These "potentially reduced exposure products" (PREPs), which include cigarettes and smokeless tobacco (e.g., snuff, tobacco lozenges), have not yet been evaluated sufficiently to determine whether they are indeed associated with reduced risk of disease. Recent studies indicate that the levels of carcinogens in these PREPs range from relatively low to comparable to conventional tobacco products. These studies conclude that medicinal nicotine (found in the nicotine patch and gum) is a safer alternative than these modified tobacco products.

This page was last updated July 2012

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