Last Thursday, Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI), released findings from a study indicating that its heat-not-burn device, IQOS, can reduce the incidence and multiplicity of lung carcinomas in a cancer animal model when compared to regular cigarettes.
PMI conducted an 18-month inhalation study in A/J mice, by comparing the effect of cigarette smoke, to the effect of vapor from iQOS on their lungs. A/J mice are known to develop lung emphysema and lung cancer in response to cigarette smoke exposure.
The tobacco giant said that the data from this study indicated that the incidence and multiplicity of lung carcinomas are significantly increased upon exposure to cigarette smoke when compared to normal conditions. However, added PMI, the incidence and multiplicity of lung carcinomas in mice exposed to IQOS, was significantly lower than in mice exposed to cigarettes and similar to mice in normal conditions.
Hence, in line with previous research, Philip Morris concluded that switching from smoking to using iQOS, reduces the risk of smoking-related diseases. “This milestone study further strengthens the scientific evidence showing that switching to IQOS is a better choice for smokers than continuing to smoke cigarettes,” said Manuel Peitsch, Philip Morris International’s chief scientific officer, during a news conference at a Seoul hotel in Korea.
Korea’s government inaccurately stated that HnBs are as harmful as cigarettes
PMI said that the incidence and multiplicity of lung carcinomas in mice exposed to IQOS was significantly lower than in mice exposed to cigarettes and similar to mice in normal conditions. The IQOS device is a smokeless alternative to combustible cigarettes and works by heating tobacco leaves known as Hearts. These refills which look like short cigarettes, must be inserted into the device and are heated once it is switched on, and are sold under the Marlboro brand.
With the launch of a number of HnB devices in Korea in 2017, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety had announced its aim to analyze the products. The main aim of the research was to verify claims made by ‘Heat not Burn’ devices manufacturers that the products are about 90% safer than combustible cigarettes, by measuring nicotine and tar levels.
After conducting studies on three HnB devices; Philip Morris Korea’s IQOS, British American Tobacco’s Glo, and KT&G’s lil, earlier this year the ministry announced that these were found to be as harmful as conventional products.
Independent research reports similar findings
However, in line with PMI’s findings, a recent study by the independent Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT), reviewed two “heat-not-burn” tobacco products and found them to be less risky than regular cigarettes.
“The evidence suggests that heat-not-burn products still pose a risk to users. There is likely to be a reduction in risk for cigarette smokers who switch to heat-not-burn products but quitting entirely would be more beneficial.”-Professor Alan Boobis, Chairman, COT
COT analyzed PMI’s IQOS and British American Tobacco’s iFuse. The evidence gathered by the committee indicated that the products still pose a risk, but despite not being able to quantify the exact level, the organization said that this risk is less than that from smoking.
“The evidence suggests that heat-not-burn products still pose a risk to users,” said COT chairman Professor Alan Boobis. “There is likely to be a reduction in risk for cigarette smokers who switch to heat-not-burn products but quitting entirely would be more beneficial.”
Read Further: The Korea Times