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Heat-not-burn tobacco products

Tobacco industry has recently introduced a new product heat-not-burn” tobacco product claiming that it is much less harmful than conventional cigarettes and therefore more convenient to customers.

Battery powered device, usually resembling the cigarette, heats specially prepared tobacco up to 350oC compared to 600oC in conventional cigarettes producing inhalable aerosol. Tobacco industry claims that in such a way tobacco leaves does not burn and releases no smoke. However, during the incomplete combustion of tobacco harmful agents are generated such as acetaldehyde, benzo[a]pirene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and carbon monoxide in the same way as while smoking cigarettes. The inhaled aerosol consists of nicotine, responsible for addiction, tobacco combustion products, and additives, with different flavors. Research has found that smoke in one of these products has 84% of nicotine found in conventional cigarette smoke.

There are several products available on the market. The most popular is “IQOS” by Phillip Morris International (IQOS – I Quit-Ordinary-Smoking), followed by “Glo” by British American Tobacco, “Ploom TECH” by Japan Tobacco, etc.; all are available since 2016.

There is no evidence so far that these products are less harmful than conventional cigarettes and that there is no health risk from second hand smoke. Therefore the European Commission suggests that precautionary approach should be applied unless more information on harmful health effects are gathered. Moreover, Directive 40/2014/EC related to production, trade and advertisement especially claims that they are less harmful then other tobacco products, should be implemented. World Health Organization (WHO) states that all tobacco products are harmful, including heat-not-burn tobacco products. Tobacco per se is toxic, containing carcinogens and is addictive. Therefore, all policy and regulatory measures should be applied in the same way as for other tobacco products.

In Serbia IQOS has been register and placed on market in March 2017.