UPDATE : Monday, July 13, 2020
'Heat-not-burn tobacco 'safer' substitute than cigarettes'
  • By Lee Han-soo
  • Published 2019.10.24 11:09
  • Updated 2019.10.24 11:09
  • comments 0

A recent study has shown that heat-not-burn tobacco product can be a safe alternative to regular cigarettes by minimizing exposure to airborne pollutants and reducing the effect of second-hand smoking.

Gizelle Baker, Philip Morris International’s director of scientific engagement, explains about a reduced risk of IQOS, during a news conference at Lotte Hotel Seoul, on Wednesday.

"Ordinary cigarettes are burned at 600-800 degrees and emit substances in the tobacco as they burn into smoke," said Gizelle Baker, director of scientific engagement at Philip Morris International (PMI) in a news conference. "The smoke, in turn, increases the exposure of harmful elements in the air."

However, IQOS, which was developed to replace cigarettes, is heated at 350 degrees, producing only steam, not smoke, thereby decreasing the number of harmful substances, Baker added.

Baker stressed that while 50 percent of smoke coming from 1mg of tobacco leaf contains water and glycerin, and ultrafine dust, 90 percent of IQOS vapor is made of water and glycerin, and it reduces the average amount of harmful substances by 90 percent and has no ultrafine dust.

The PMI executive introduced one of the studies that compared the indoor air quality and human signature for people using IQOS and ordinary cigarettes.

"Indoor air quality and human signature studies followed the indoor air quality exposure limits for pollutants under international guidelines," Baker said. "After checking the air pollution concentration in a room, the company made participants smoke ordinary cigarettes and checked the air pollution concentration, and went through the same process for IQOS."

Substances measured during the trial were combustion particle materials, carbon monoxide, nitrogen monoxide, nitrogen oxides, nicotine, carbonyls, and a volatile organic compound.

As a result, general cigarettes had a high amount of air pollutants, especially carbon monoxide, nicotine, and particle matters substances.

"The result showed that IQOS is significantly less harmful than regular cigarettes and has no negative impact on those around the smoker," Baker said. "There have also been studies in the U.K., the U.S., Japan, New Zealand, Germany, China, and Russia, which show that IQOS poses a lower risk than ordinary cigarettes."

Baker also tried to address concerns surrounding IQOS.

Commenting on the FDA scientific advisory panel’s recent claim that PMI had not proved that reduced exposure would result in a "measurable and substantial" decline in disease or death in January, Baker said the company had since submitted numerous data to support its argument.

"The panel overwhelmingly agreed that IQOS greatly reduced exposure of harmful substances, and in a somewhat mixed vote, they also said IQOS could reduce risk of harm," Baker said. "So switching to IQOS will reduce harm compared to smoking cigarettes."

Regarding the risk of tobacco-related diseases, however, the panel voted somewhat negatively, which means that multiple different claims need to be decided by the FDA, Baker added.

"If we look at the six-month data submitted by our company after the initial meeting, it gives us a very different view of the translation of reduced exposure to biological impact," she said. "When the FDA makes a final decision, it will not just be on the data submitted in the earlier meeting but on all the data and comments presented more recently."


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