There is a common misconception that cigarettes are made of nicotine. However, the truth is completely different. A cigarette consists of tobacco leaves rolled in cigarette paper. While nicotine is a substance found in tobacco leaves, it is the burning of tobacco that produces harmful chemicals.
According to Our World in Data, global studies estimate that about 8 million people die prematurely from smoking every year. This means that about 15 per cent of global deaths are attributed to smoking. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use. About 1.2 million are non-smokers who are dying because they are exposed to second-hand smoke.
Convincing a smoker to quit smoking is not easy. In some cases, it is almost impossible. Nicotine is a stimulant and the brain adapts to its presence, a process that is reversible when a person stops using nicotine-containing products. This process of nicotine stimulation can ultimately lead to difficulty quitting.
Hence, are heated tobacco products a less harmful alternative for smokers?
When tobacco is ignited by a heat source, it reaches temperatures in excess of 600 degrees Celsius which leads to the burning of the tobacco. Combustion produces over 7,000 chemicals, many of which have been identified as leading causes of smoking-related diseases.
On the other hand, heat-not-burn products heat tobacco to significantly lower temperatures that do not exceed 350 degrees Celsius, without burning it, and therefore produce no smoke. The aerosol generated contains an average of 95% lower levels of toxicants than the reference cigarette smoke. This, however, does not mean a 95 per cent reduction in risk.
According to Cancer Research UK, “e-cigarettes are far less harmful than smoking, and for people who smoke, e-cigarettes are an option to help them stop.” Additionally, ASH highlights that, among all e-cigarette users in Britain, the main reasons for vaping are as an aid to quitting (28 per cent) and for preventing relapse (18 per cent).
These figures show that relying on heat-not-burn technology helps in quitting. Hence, one of the leading companies in the tobacco industry developed heated tobacco products to reduce the risk of smoking-related diseases. Since 2008, the company invested over USD 8 billion, to implement this transformation and deliver a smoke-free future.
Research findings conducted by BMJ Journals predicted that the replacement of cigarettes by e-cigarette use, over a 10-year period, would yield 1.6 to 6.6 million fewer premature deaths in the USA.
Heat-not-burn products are smoke-free alternatives for adult smokers who wish to continue smoking or use nicotine products.
This article is brought to you by Philip Morris Management Misr.