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Recreational nicotine: uncertain benefits and several major risks
  1. VicHealth Tobacco Control Centre
  2. 100 Drummond Street
  3. Carlton, Vic 3053, Australia

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    Clive Bates describes a tobacco industry under competitive pressure from “clean” nicotine used not just therapeutically but recreationally. Depending on how big the recreational nicotine market became, the extent to which tobacco companies moved into the cleaner end of it, and the extent to which demand for traditional tobacco products declined, tobacco companies' customer base and profits might in fact expand significantly under such a scenario.

    That the tobacco industry might prosper is neither here nor there. The question we should be concerned about is whether expansion of the nicotine market is the most effective way of reducing the harm currently caused by tobacco.

    Should we deregulate nicotine tomorrow?

    A recreational nicotine market would be a very large genie to let out of the bottle. It would be global, powerful, and potentially more difficult to regulate than we can currently appreciate.

    Imagine a scenario 10 years hence. We have persuaded several governments to remove regulatory barriers for recreational nicotine. As with nicotine replacement therapy …

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