The issues related to tobacco harm reduction continue to challenge the tobacco control research and policy communities. The potential for combusting tobacco products to reduce exposure and risk remains largely unknown, but this has not stopped manufacturers from offering such products making these claims. The role of oral tobacco products in a harm reduction regimen has also been a source of dialogue and debate. Within the last few years, major cigarette manufacturing companies have begun selling smokeless products for the first time, claiming to target current cigarette smokers. Other cigarette manufacturers are also offering smokeless products in markets around the world. The harm reduction debate has at times been divisive. There has been no unifying set of principles or goals articulated to guide tobacco control efforts. In particular, the research needs are extraordinarily high in order to drive evidence-based policy in this area and avoid the mistakes made with "light" cigarettes. This paper discusses recommendations from a strategic dialogue held with key, mostly US-based tobacco control researchers and policy makers to develop a strategic vision and blueprint for research, policy and communications to reduce the harm from tobacco for the US. Short-term and long-term objectives are described.