The mission of CASAA is to ensure the availability of effective, affordable and reduced harm alternatives to smoking by increasing public awareness and education; to encourage the testing and development of products to achieve acceptable safety standards and reasonable regulation; and to promote the benefits of reduced harm alternatives.
Unless smoking-cessation rates improve, the World Health Organization estimates that the death toll from tobacco-related diseases will top 500 million world-wide. At least 10 million Canadians and Americans will die prematurely over the next 10 to 20 years.
Tobacco Harm Reduction is a public health strategy that centers on providing sufficient nicotine to maintain normal functioning while eliminating the harmful effects of inhaling smoke. Currently available alternatives include a variety of modern smokeless tobacco products, vaporized nicotine delivered by "electronic cigarettes" or "electronic cigars", and pharmaceutical nicotine products. It has been estimated that smokers who switch to such alternatives can decrease their risks of smoking-related disease and death by over 95%.
A very important facet of tobacco harm reduction is educating smokers and the general public about the comparative risks of different sources of nicotine. Unfortunately, the tobacco control community has withheld and continues to withhold accurate information about the relative safety of alternatives. Withholding such information "can represent the violation of a human right – the right to information."
As David Sweanor puts it, "The continued use of alternative nicotine delivery on a long term basis, as an alternative to tobacco products, would massively improve public health. Since the nicotine replacement therapies are short-term, many users are forced to return to tobacco products to satisfy a desire for nicotine. We are effectively condemning those with a continued need for nicotine to a deadly delivery system."