It is widely known that smoking is harmful to health, yet despite its well-known risks there are millions who decide to continue smoking. Quitting, or better yet never starting, is without a doubt the best choice. However, for those smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke, switching to scientifically substantiated smoke-free products is a better option. With an array of novel tobacco products reaching the market, there is an opportunity to make key distinctions between cigarettes and smoke free products.
The leading cause of smoking-related diseases is cigarette smoke, which contains dozens of toxic chemicals, the majority of which are generated when the tobacco in a cigarette is burnt. When tobacco is ignited by a heat source, such as the flame from a match or a lighter, it reaches temperatures in excess of 600 C. As a consequence of the burning of the tobacco, ash and smoke are generated. Cigarette smoke contains more than 6,000 chemicals and around 100 of them have been identified as leading causes of smoking related diseases.
The variety of smoke free products that have reached the market share a common similarity; they are designed to eliminate the burning process and therefore generate no ash, and no smoke, therefore reducing the exposure to harmful toxicants compared to the smoke of a cigarette. When scientifically substantiated, smoke free products are a better alternative than continued smoking.
In the specific case of heated tobacco products – a type of smoke free product – tobacco is heated at a controlled temperature without burning the tobacco, in order to release a nicotine containing aerosol. The composition of the aerosol produced by heated tobacco products is different to the smoke produced by cigarettes. In the case of cigarettes, water and glycerine form 50% of the smoke mass, together with high levels of toxicants and also solid carbon-based particles. By contrast, scientific studies show that in the aerosol of a heated tobacco product water and glycerine form approximately 90% of the aerosol mass, there are no solid particles and the levels of toxicants are reduced on average by 90% compared to cigarette smoke. It’s important to note that these products are not risk free as they contain nicotine which is addictive.
Gizelle Baker, VP Global Scientific Engagement for Philip Morris International states, “the best way to prevent smoking-related diseases is to quit cigarettes and nicotine completely, or to never start in the first place. However, we recognize that many adults don’t quit, and that’s where smoke-free alternatives can complement existing measures designed to discourage initiation and encourage cessation. These smoke-free alternatives are a much better choice for adult smokers who would otherwise continue smoking. That’s because although they are not risk-free, they don’t burn the tobacco. Science shows us that it’s the chemicals produced by combustion that are the primary cause of smoking-related diseases. If we want to achieve the public health breakthroughs that society demands and deserves, we must follow the science.”
This article is brought to you by Philip Morris Management Services- Lebanon