K•A•C researches, informs and communicates new ways of preventing the harms caused to individuals and communities by smoking. In some mainly higher income countries, understanding is increasing about appropriate and effective, evidence-based regulation for harm reduction products and harm reduction strategies that use them.
But globally there is still a pressing need to improve communication on the relative risks of the various ways of using nicotine, to help people make informed choices and take control of their own health.
While the science indicates SNP are a potential game-changer for public health, many in tobacco control remain unconvinced, with some actively impeding the development of these new alternatives to smoking. International philanthropists fund agencies to oppose tobacco harm reduction, including specifically in low and middle-income countries, where the need is greatest. UN agencies have yet to support it, despite harm reduction being integrated into responses to HIV/AIDS and substance use. It is disappointing that resistance sometimes comes from those whose support for harm reduction in other fields should make them natural allies.
At K•A•C, we are keenly aware that capacity for research on tobacco harm reduction and SNP has been unevenly distributed around the world. Most has taken place in countries with strong public health structures and well-established research groups. This has limited studies to certain populations and contexts. It has meant that people in low and middle-income countries who smoke or use other risky forms of tobacco, as well as marginalised groups in higher income nations, have been largely overlooked in the search for appropriate, accessible and affordable solutions to the smoking epidemic.
We recognised there was a need to increase the number of individuals and organisations around the world able to conduct contextually and culturally appropriate harm reduction research and communicate effectively with the public and policymakers.
To do this, we created and developed the Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Programme (THRSP).