New research funded by Philip Morris suggests that the “Reduced-Risk Device” known as IQOS can reduce exposure to 15 harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke.
The cigarette company’s research and development centre in Switzerland worked with the Osaki Hospital Tokyo Heart Center to investigate the effects of IQOS use on smokers, with the findings published in peer-reviewed journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.
The research was conducted over three months on smokers who had switched to IQOS use, and showed that the device had reduced their exposure to 15 harmful chemicals to levels that approached those of smokers who quit smoking.
It was also reported that the subjects showed “improvements in measured health indicators specific to smoking-related diseases, such as lung and heart disease”.
Users also found the product “satisfying” and likely to make a complete switch from conventional cigarettes to the device.
“In all cases, the health indicators improved in the same direction as seen in smokers who quit,” a statement from Philip Morris said.
160 smokers were involved in the study, who were examined for five days at a clinic and then continued the experiment for an additional 85 days in their home environments.
Philip Morris chief medical officer Dr. Frank Lüdicke said the study was an important step to confirm that, while IQOS was not risk-free, it was still a better choice for smokers who do not quit.
“It clearly indicates that smokers who switch to IQOS reduce their exposure to harmful compounds to levels that approach those of smokers who quit smoking,” he said.
“The study also clearly indicates areas of significant risk reduction which we are currently confirming through a longer term study.”
In a statement to C&I Week, Quit Victoria director Dr Sarah White said she wouldn’t put any stock in the results until they were replicated by scientists who did not have a commercial interest in the outcome.
“The gushing press release claims results not supported by the findings of this study – in particular, when you analyse the data in the published paper, there is absolutely no basis to claim the product reduced exposure to 15 harmful chemicals,” she said.
“There is nothing in this study, for example, on the risk of cancer; the leading cause of death and disease from smoking. And the data on the cardiovascular risk factors presented in this study are not at all convincing.
“This looks to me like a gimmick to keep smokers addicted to their deadly habit so that big tobacco can continue to profit from it.
“If people want to reduce their risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke, we recommend using evidence-based, approved products, including medication and nicotine replacement therapies.”
Smokers who wish to quit are encouraged to call the Quitline on 13 78 48.