What you should know about traditional cigarettes vs heat-not-burn tobacco products
Posted on 2021 Jan,25

For 150 years, the tobacco industry has been dependent on one increasingly embattled offering: combustible tobacco. And it is only in the last five years that we have started to see major innovations in the tobacco and nicotine market.

It is worth remembering that eight million people are killed by tobacco-related diseases worldwide. And smoking is the leading cause of cancer. All scientists and doctors agree this is a monumental public health problem to any country.

This is how the concept of Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) was born, as the goal of tobacco companies who are innovating in this field is to lower the health risks to individuals and wider society who can't quit smoking. The challenge was to offer adult smokers better alternatives than to continuing smoking.

So, what can be done to decrease morbidity and mortality induced by tobacco use?

Scientists and medical professionals the world over insist mainly on the addictive power of nicotine, which is responsible for keeping smokers from quitting. It is said to be a non-carcinogenic drug but extremely addictive.

What one should know is that the chemical compounds of the toxic smoke that is carcinogenic and can damage our cells and the toxicants associated with burning are the primary cause of smoking-related disease. The high temperatures in the lit end of a burning cigarette, above 600C, cause a large number of chemical reactions to take place, breaking down the tobacco into the thousands of chemicals that appear in cigarette smoke. Many are considered harmful, but together they are recognized as the main cause of smoking-related diseases.

This is why the current alternatives for smoking cessation as heating tobacco products are leading the way to meet the needs of people who cannot quit smoking by reducing their exposure to toxic substances in a high proportion.

Over the last 13 years, Philip Morris began developing its smoke-free products. It started by asking what would get adult smokers to make the switch from smoking cigarettes to an alternative product – and stay with it? With the help of over 400 expert scientists, engineers and technicians, it has developed a portfolio of smoke-free products that deliver nicotine without burning tobacco and which current adult smokers find satisfying.

Among those smoke-free products, there is the now renowned IQOS, amongst the most successful brands in this market category and the first and only electronic nicotine product to be granted marketing orders through the FDA’s MRTP process. Indeed, last year, it was granted permission to be sold in the U.S., sparking concerns of yet another nicotine delivery device being introduced to the U.S. market amid a youth e-cigarette epidemic.

However, heat-not-burn tobacco products, also called heated tobacco products, are electronic devices that heat tobacco leaves to produce an inhalable aerosol, instead of burning tobacco like traditional cigarettes. They are different from e-cigarettes because they use actual tobacco, not the flavored e-liquid typically found in e-cigarettes.

When a cigarette is lit, the tobacco is burned through the process of combustion, which produces smoke and releases the naturally occurring nicotine, as well as harmful chemicals produced as a by-product of the combustion process. It is these harmful chemicals –and not the nicotine country to popular belief – that are the primary source of the harmful effects of smoking, and by removing the burning, the levels of these harmful chemicals are significantly reduced.

PMI’s smoke-free products like IQOS work by heating the tobacco, without burning or combustion, to produce a flavorful nicotine-containing vapor that a consumer can inhale, but that has significantly lower levels of harmful chemicals than cigarettes while satisfying existing adult smokers with a taste and experience they enjoy about smoking.

Therefore, the FDA’s authorization of IQOS Tobacco Heating System comes as no surprise as the IQOS system heats tobacco but does not burn it. This significantly reduces the production of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals. However, that does not mean that smoke-free products are risk free.

At the end of the day, the best choice for smokers is to quit tobacco and nicotine containing products entirely. And companies like Philip Morris International's have made clear that their goal is to be able to offer adult smokers who would otherwise continue smoking scientifically substantiated better alternatives to cigarettes. That's why PMI is building a future on this category of smoke-free products that, while not risk-free, are believed to be a much better choice than continuing to smoke.

This Article is brought to you by Philip Morris Lebanon.