A new wave of “heat-not-burn” tobacco products are probably safer than traditional cigarettes but the devices still produce a number of potentially harmful compounds, some of which are carcinogenic, a British panel of experts said yesterday. File image: IOL.
JOHANNESBURG - A new wave of “heat-not-burn” tobacco products are probably safer than traditional cigarettes but the devices still produce a number of potentially harmful compounds, some of which are carcinogenic, a British panel of experts said yesterday.

Cigarette maker Philip Morris International has led the way in developing the new non-burn products and its iQOS device is one of two available in Britain, alongside British American Tobacco’s iFUSE.

Whereas e-cigarettes use nicotine-laced liquid, the new devices heat tobacco to a high enough temperature to create a vapour but not smoke.

The Committee of Toxicology (Cot), which offers independent scientific advice to the UK government, is one of the first official groups to study the risk profile of heat-not-burn products.

Its report to Public Health England said puffers using such products were exposed to between 50 and 90percent fewer harmful and potentially harmful chemicals compared to conventional cigarettes. But it was unable to quantify the risk precisely versus conventional or e-cigarettes.

The experts also noted significant technical differences between the products, with iQOS generating a maximum temperature of 350ºC as opposed to 50ºC for iFUSE.

“The evidence suggests heat-not-burn products still pose a risk to users,” said Cot chairperson Alan Boobis. 

- REUTERS