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Alternative Tobacco Products: The Lower Exposure, Lower Risk Products

by Philip Morris Lebanon

Health concerns are the main drive behind finding novel and alternative tobacco products to facilitate reduction or cessation of traditional cigarette use. In addition to health risks brought on by smoking, the need for other alternatives is imposed by increasing regulations, higher prices, and changing social norms, as well as public awareness.

This awareness should be enhanced by providing clear understanding of the differences between traditional products and electronic alternatives such as heating products. Accurate information and access to studies, statistics and experiences in many places around the world play a helpful role for smokers attempting or seeking to quit, in selecting the method to reduce the harm and lower health risks caused by cigarette smoking. 

Until now, there is no 100% safe substitute for smoking cigarettes. However, science enhanced by technology and latest evidence-based approaches can be benefited from to obtain better alternatives. Although not without harm, but for adult smokers, whether those who intend to quit smoking – advised not to start it in the first place or quitting as a better option – and were unable during their attempts, or those who do not intend to quit, these alternatives are a better way to move away from the traditional cigarettes and the harms they entail resulting from the burning tobacco and its smoke potentially harmful chemicals.

Burning tobacco taking place in traditional cigarettes, produces more than 6,000 harmful chemicals, 1% of which have been identified as causes or potential causes of smoking-related diseases, including lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and emphysema. Switching from cigarettes to heated tobacco could reduce the odds of developing these diseases.

One of the main differences between alternative products and conventional cigarettes is that alternative products, although not completely risk-free, eliminate combustion and work on heating, thereby significantly reducing the production of harmful chemicals. To illustrate this, when a traditional cigarette is lit, it immediately begins to burn at a temperature of 600 °C or more, while, on the other hand, when using products based on a heating system, this system heats tobacco up to 350 °C without burning it or producing smoke or ash, with significantly lower levels of harmful chemicals compared to conventional cigarettes, which are produced with nicotine-containing aerosols that are fundamentally different from cigarette smoke. However, this does not necessarily mean a decrease in risks in the same proportion, as these products are not harm-free.

Global Trends reveal the growing use of alternatives tobacco products together with encouraging results in reducing the consumption of traditional cigarettes. Due to the adoption of alternative nicotine delivery systems and information provision, Japan has managed to reduce consumption of traditional cigarettes by 43% between 2016 and 2021, while Britain was able to reduce the proportion of smokers by a third over the past 10 years. 

Providing a healthier alternative to regular tobacco use, leads to healthier population, to alleviating global public health burden, medical costs and productivity losses. It’s a win-win situation for all.

This article was provided by Philip Morris – Lebanon

Philip Morris Lebanon


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