Science exposed

| December 21, 2017

Four scientists and researchers who worked for Philip Morris International on its iQOS program have told Reuters that while the company was able to prove that this device reduced the exposure of users to harmful substances from the exposure associated with combustible cigarettes, that didn’t necessarily mean that using the device was less likely to result in disease.

The Reuters piece, by Paritosh Bansal, Tom Lasseter, Duff Wilson and Aditya Kalra, Philip Morris’ search for a cigarette no more harmful than a cup of coffee, is at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tobacco-iqos-science-risk/philip-morris-search-for-a-cigarette-no-more-harmful-than-a-cup-of-coffee-idUSKBN1EE1GQ.

“Exposure is not directly linked to the risk of having a disease,” said Hans-Joerg Urban, who is said to have joined PMI’s research headquarters as a scientist in 2005 and worked at PMI until 2010 analyzing data from clinical and laboratory experiments. “The diseases are much too complicated.”

Dorothy Hatsukami, a former member of the US Food and Drug Administration’s tobacco products scientific advisory committee, agreed. “At this point, research is still too nascent to say with certainty that reduced exposure translates into reduced risk,” she said.

PMI is seeking FDA approval to market iQOS under two different standards. It has applied for approval as a device that reduces exposure to harmful substances. And it has applied on a second track with a higher bar – to get approval to market it as carrying reduced risk of tobacco-related disease.

The first option, a special provision for companies that are unable to meet the threshold of reduced risk, comes with a restriction. Consumers cannot be ‘misled into believing’ the product is less harmful than other tobacco products, FDA regulations say.

The Reuters piece reported that PMI said the lack of combustion in the case of iQOS meant vapers were exposed to far lower levels of toxic emissions than were the smokers of combustible cigarettes.

‘The ultimate result of this is reduced tobacco related harm and diseases,’ Reuters quoted the company as saying in a statement.

Meanwhile, a longer Reuters piece, by Tom Lasseter, Paritosh Bansal, Thomas Wilson, Ami Miyazaki, Duff Wilson and Aditya Kalra, reports how scientists describe what they see as problems in PMI’s experimental methods.

It is at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tobacco-iqos-science-risk/philip-morris-search-for-a-cigarette-no-more-harmful-than-a-cup-of-coffee-idUSKBN1EE1GQ.

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Category: Breaking News, Harm reduction, Next-generation products, Science, Vapor

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