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What is Harm Reduction?

Just like the approach in HIV and Aids, the initial approach aimed at eliminating the pandemic was centered on abstinence and being faithful to one partner, the campaigns are purported to have been almost unsuccessful, increase in HIV contraction sustained. After it was known that some people cannot handle abstinence and being faithful to one partner regardless of the noticeable consequences of HIV and Aids, the campaign strategy shifted to promoting the use of condoms in order to help in reducing the risk of HIV contraction.

Similarly, in tobacco harm, whilst we recognize that; Malawi has no any regulations on tobacco control; that our tobacco farmers cannot easily and quickly switch to alternative livelihood opportunities; and that there are other people who are already addicted to nicotine consumption, we believe that something needs to be done to help in dropping the adverse effects of tobacco in the country.

As portrayed in the FCTC, “tobacco control” means a range of supply, demand and harm reduction strategies that aim to improve the health of a population by eliminating or reducing their consumption of tobacco products and exposure to tobacco smoke. People who are prone to start the habit of smoking must be prevented from initiation, those who smoke but can manage to quit must be helped to stop and those who have grown dependence on nicotine consumption must be helped to switch to other scientifically proven less harmful means of nicotine delivery.


Quitting is difficult, but your doctor can help you make a plan. Finding a way to quit tobacco consumption is the most important step you can take to living a longer and happier life, there are both short and long-term benefits to quitting smoking. There are a variety of nonprescription and prescription medications that can help you quit.

Harm reduction technologies

Though not very popular in Malawi, science has established that new technologies like the electronic cigarettes have reduced risk of harm as compared to the combustible cigarettes. People who have nicotine addiction can switch to such alternatives in order to satisfy their nicotine crave whilst reducing the risk of harm they could be exposed to when using combustible cigarettes.


World Health Organization, (2003), WHO framework convention on tobacco control. Geneva, Switzerland.