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From Smoke to Smokeless – Exploring THR Strategies

November 13, 2023
by Luthfi Mardiansyah

The Chairman of Chapters Indonesia, attended the webinar on THR Strategies, organized by the collaboration of five international harm reduction societies; CAPHRA-Asia Pacific, ATHRA-Australia, HARAP-Philippine, MSHR-Malaysia and PANTHR-Pakistan.

It was very interesting discussion among two speakers and five expert panelists and comments from participants. The first speaker was Dr Karl Erik Lund from Norway, his topic about “A deep dive into Sweden’s trailblazing journey to becoming a smoke-free society”. Dr Lund share on the success of snus products in Sweden, as to replace conventional cigarettes and the impact to the environment and healthcare burden in the country. The second speaker was Prof Gerhard Scherer from Germany, with topic of “From biomarkers to behavior change: new research on the importance of biomarkers and how they can supplement research to drive behavior change”. Biomarkers of exposure (BOEs) and biological effects (BOBEs) can support (and probably shorten) the evaluation process at various stages. 

The discussion also was also captured on how risk-reduced products can support the efforts towards smoking cessation, subsequent effectiveness in reducing tobacco-related harms and review biomarker of exposure and potential harm data in smokers who switch to risk-reduced products. Further research, in particular on the validity of BOBEs, is required in order to improve and shorten the risk evaluation process.

THR is an important supplementary strategy to solve the smoking and health issue, in addition to smoking cessation and not to start programs. Since almost 2 decades, promising THR products are available, which require scientifically sound evaluation with respect to their suitability in terms of risk reduction for users as well as the population in general. 

There are many studies, facts and market data in many different countries in Europe and Asia Pacific that relevant to successful of some risk-reduce products, such as snus, heat-no burn, patch etc. It is of major importance to communicate these science-based data on THR products to the decision makers in a suitable manner. It would be beneficial, all of THR experts in many different countries can meet in any international smoke free summit, to make a consensus and develop a communication strategy on THR concept, and bring attention to the World Health Organization.


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