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Heated tobacco: An advanced technology for a smoke-free future

For adults who intend to quit smoking, Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs) are currently an emerging class of tobacco products marketed as potentially reduced-exposure products, or even as modified-risk tobacco products.

Smoking the tar away

Despite the popular belief that nicotine is behind smoking-related diseases, science has recently discovered several facts that have overturned all previous misconceptions regarding smoking.

Indeed, studies have proved that the main cause of disease that results from smoking is the formation of tar due to the combustion of the cigarette, and not by the nicotine itself. Smoking is the traditional way of extracting nicotine by burning tobacco, which is a leaf. Unfortunately, it results in smoke that contains thousands of compounds, 100 of which have been identified as possible causes of harmful diseases, including lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and emphysema. This change in tobacco is demonstrated by the formation of ash and smoke.

A safer alternative

Smokers are well aware that what they look for in cigarettes is nicotine, which is an addictive substance. But thanks to deep research and science enhanced by technology, a range of products were developed to obtain better, but not risk-free, alternatives for adult smokers.

Heated Tobacco Products aim to replace the burning process of tobacco with the heating process, thus producing an aerosol containing nicotine that provides adult smokers with a sensory experience similar to the taste and flavor of nicotine thanks to better and more advanced alternatives.

The HTPs are based on the principle that burning tobacco is not necessary to liberate nicotine. In traditional smoking, aerosolizing nicotine is achieved by igniting tobacco, reaching temperatures of up to 900°C in the burning cone. During the combustion, these chemicals are transformed into more than 6,000 toxic chemicals many of which are harmful, as they are inhaled by users and secondhand smokers alike.

However, contrary to burnt cigarettes, processed tobacco in HTPs is heated without reaching ignition to produce an emission containing nicotine and other chemicals. In other terms, when using products depending on the heating system, the tobacco is heated up to 350°C without burning. Consequently, the lower temperature at which nicotine is volatilized is expected to expose the user to emissions containing fewer toxins and in smaller amounts than in conventional cigarette smoking. Moreover, HTPs don’t negatively impact indoor air quality, making it a much better alternative to cigarettes for everyone.

Growing government support for science-backed HTPs

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there will continue to be over 1 billion smokers into 2025 and beyond. A growing number of governments are now complementing traditional measures with a harm reduction approach by providing smokers with scientifically substantiated less-harmful products, namely HTPs.

The sustainability of these alternatives lies in various regulatory and legislative frameworks that contribute to making alternative products accessible to millions of adult smokers around the world.

For instance, in the U.S. the FDA since 2017 has been outspoken about its support for alternatives to cigarettes for adults who want access to nicotine through less-harmful products, as it recognizes that the root of the harm from smoking is burning, not nicotine.

 

International Companies Commitment

PMI, the world leading HTPs manufacturer, has invested 14 years and more than $8 billion to develop, produce and commercialize its heated tobacco platform, an innovative product, so that adult smokers would switch to smoke-free products.

Although not risk-free, and based on sound scientific evidence, this innovation presents less risk of harm than continued smoking as it prevents combustion since the device uses a heating blade to heat the tobacco to a precisely controlled temperature range that is below 350°C, thus releasing 95% lower levels of harmful chemicals compared to cigarette smoke. However, it does not necessarily equal a 95% reduction in risk.  Indeed, laboratory studies conducted on this product confirm that the lower levels of toxins in the vapor generated by the device are significantly less toxic than cigarette smoke. Almost 11.7 million people have already made the transition to PMI smoke-free products, while 73% of IQOS users have completely stopped smoking cigarettes.

This article is brought to you by Philip Morris International

 

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