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The worldwide success story of heated tobacco products

by Philip Morris Lebanon

More than 15 million adult smokers around the world have switched to smoke-free products

US study confirms 10% annual decline in traditional smoking rates after using heated tobacco products

For a very long time, looking for mechanisms to reduce the risks of tobacco has not been of interest to smokers or cigarettes producers. However, this has begun to change gradually, especially in light of the scientific and technological progress that the world is witnessing now, notably in medical field – among others – where talk about the harms of smoking, and diseases affecting the smoker, which may lead to death, has become commonplace.

As a result of taking into consideration the dangers of smoking, during the past 30 years, a number of policies and procedures has been launched, all aimed at directing towards the necessity of quitting smoking.

The internationally renowned Professor of Oncology, David Khayat, the former President of the National Cancer Institute of France, has declared during his participation in the international conference to discuss the concept of reducing the risk of smoking in Africa, that smoking has been the most important cause of cancer around the world for the past 30 years, from 1990 to 2019. This means that all strategies and policies developed and implemented throughout that period to reduce smoking have failed completely. Therefore, according to Professor Khayat, we must strive to minimize the damage resulting from smoking behavior, and hope less harmful alternative products will play a role in reducing the harm caused by consuming traditional tobacco products, especially cancer caused by smoking.

Philip Moris International became aware of the key hopeful takeaways by Professor Khayat over 14 years ago, when it led the biggest transformation in its history and developed a long-term business strategy through which it moved from one of the largest tobacco manufacturers around the world to a company that embraces science and technology as a key approach to creating and developing smoke-free electronic products that are less harmful, especially after experts agreed that the main cause of harm caused by smoking are the toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke resulting from tobacco burning – and not the nicotine, although it is inherently addictive.

Thus the world witnessed the advent of heated tobacco technology, the new innovation that has succeeded in switching more than 15 million adult smokers to smoke-free products with the potential to reduce the risks of traditional smoking. These products have gained the trust of millions of adult smokers around the world, who do not want to  quit smoking, however, seek to reduce the risk, as heated tobacco products are available in 71 countries around the world, including England, Australia, Spain, New Zealand, and Japan, as well as a large number of Arab markets.

The Japanese market is a unique example of these products success story, especially if taking into account that Japan is one of the most advanced and concerned countries for consumer health. It imposes strict rules on trading various products in its markets, in order to preserve the health of its citizens, which has boosted adult consumers trust in heated tobacco devices, after the Japanese government authorized the commercialization of these innovative products for their ability to reduce the harms of traditional smoking.

A recent study, conducted by the American Cancer Society, monitored the Japanese experience with heated tobacco products, which began in 2015 when these products obtained initial approval in 12 Japanese prefectures out of 47, and soon the rest of the prefectures agreed to use and commercialize these products to spread throughout Japan as of April 2016.

The American study highlighted the rates of selling traditional cigarettes and the number of smokers during the last ten years. It revealed that thanks to heated tobacco products, the number of people who quit smoking has increased. Sales of heated products increased to 17.4% of Japan’s market (cigarettes/heated tobacco) by 2019. The consumption of traditional cigarettes in Japan has also declined sharply after the introduction of heated tobacco devices, as nearly 10% of the adult population of smokers switched annually to using modern devices, stressing that what these products have achieved is unprecedented and unmatched by any other government tobacco control program, in addition to enhancing the chances of completely quitting smoking, even though they are not completely risk-free.

The success story of heated tobacco products around the world proves conclusively that the shift towards science and innovation, in order to provide low-risk products, can make the difference that all policies and measures taken over the past 30 years, to reduce the harms of smoking, have failed.

However, this major step still needs further support at the governmental and institutional level, particularly with regard to raising awareness of the importance of these products and their ability to reduce risks, as well as allowing the circulation of relevant scientific and research information.  Moreover, a legislative and legal environment should be created, that allows the circulation of these products and ensures their access to adult smokers, given the real opportunities they provide to reduce the harms of traditional smoking.

This article was provided by Philip Morris Lebanon.

Philip Morris Lebanon


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