May 20, 2018

Are 'Heat-Not-Burn' Tobacco Products Safer Than Cigarettes?

29 January 2018, 07:33 | Kenneth Drake

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US panel rejects marketing plan for heated tobacco device

But the nine-member panel yesterday decided there isn't enough proof this gizmo is a safer way to ingest tobacco and nicotine. They voted unanimously, with one abstention, that the studies did not show that the device reduces deadly diseases tied to smoking. If the panel endorsed IQOS, the device would be the first tobacco product marketed under a "modified risk" claim in the United States, suggesting it's safer than smoking. The FDA is in the process of beginning to regulate e-cigarettes, which did not come under the agency's authority until 2016.

For example, a congressional-mandated review on more than 800 peer-reviewed studies on electronic cigarettes, released Tuesday, failed to clear the vapor on the public-health benefits of using the products as an alternative to traditional cigarettes.

Richard Etrata, a London tailor, said iQOS has helped him cut down on smoking.

"Further, both the tobacco industry and Philip Morris International have a long history of funding "research" in ways meant to purposely confuse the public and advance their own interests", according to the statement. "I did vape for a week but it was useless".

Last month, a Reuters investigation described irregularities in the clinical trials that supported Philip Morris' iQOS application to the FDA.

On July 28, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced plans for a sweeping regulatory "road map" on tobacco and nicotine products. Instead, the panel showed that getting smoking alternatives like IQOS marketed in the USA with packaging that suggests they're safer than cigarettes, won't be easy - especially when they are coming from companies that helped create America's tobacco problem in the first place.

If cleared in the USA, iQOS would be marketed by Altria, the largest US cigarette maker.

One claim the committee voted in favor of was that iQOS reduces the body's exposure to harmful or potentially harmful chemicals. Altria shares closed 2.3 per cent lower on Thursday at $69.91. The company hopes to market the electronic device as the first "reduced-risk" tobacco product ever sanctioned by the USA government.

The FDA is reviewing the closely watched device, iQOS (EYE-kose), which is already sold in more than 30 countries. Altria, which would receive sole distribution rights in the USA, said it recognizes the balance it will need to find. Company officials have put estimates on the number of lives that could have been saved by switching from regular cigarettes to iQOS, with one figure suggesting that 90,000 people might not have died over a 20-year period if they'd had iQOS as an option.

Critics point to e-cigarettes being used in addition to and perhaps even leading users into conventional cigarettes.

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