Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tobacco Firm Says New Product Will Reduce Smoking Rate, Critics Skeptical of Motives

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Tobacco Firm Says New Product Will Reduce Smoking Rate, Critics Skeptical of Motives

Article excerpt

Company touts heat-not-burn cigarettes

--

TORONTO - One of the world's largest tobacco companies is rolling out a smokeless cigarette in Canada that it contends is less harmful than conventional combustible products, but some critics call the device merely a ploy to maintain -- or even increase -- market share in the face of dwindling smoking rates.

Philip Morris International has developed a heat-not-burn product called IQOS, or I-Quit-Ordinary-Smoking, that the tobacco giant says retains a high level of nicotine while reducing carcinogenic components found in the smoke of regular cigarettes.

PMI, along with its Canadian subsidiary Rothmans Benson & Hedges, says it is committed to a smoke-free future -- one that eliminates the burning of cigarettes and helps Canada reach its goal of reducing the smoking rate to less than five per cent by 2035.

"Basically if you eliminate the combustion and the smoke in a product that is still satisfying to adult smokers, that's where we'll probably see a true impact of reduction on public health," PMI medical adviser Mikael Franzon said after travelling to Toronto this week from the U.S.

The IQOS product is comprised of a heating blade that's inserted into a cigarette-like stick called a HEETS, which contains ground tobacco. The blade heats the stick to about 350 degrees C., compared to the more than 800 degrees with a combustible cigarette, creating an aerosol instead of smoke.

"Because it is actually heated and not burned, the tobacco rod is intact after you have used it and it lasts six minutes or 14 puffs, whatever comes first," said Franzon, a smoking cessation expert who joined PMI about two years ago.

"But it still gives you the same amount of nicotine as you find in conventional cigarettes," he said, maintaining that testing by PMI scientists has shown there is a more than 90 per cent reduction in harmful components in the aerosol compared with smoke from regular cigarettes.

But Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst for the Canadian Cancer Society, suggested the company is only blowing smoke when it touts its heat-not-burn technology as a means of reducing Canadians' tobacco use.

"Philip Morris is engaging in double-speak, saying that they want to decrease cigarette sales yet at the same time opposing legislative measures that would reduce cigarette sales, such as plain packaging, a menthol ban and higher (tobacco) taxes," said Cunningham.

"When they say they want to stop selling cigarettes, it is nothing more than a public relations stunt to distract attention from the regulatory measures that would be effective at reducing cigarette sales, measures that they oppose ... and to provide cover as they continue to aggressively sell and market cigarettes."

Given Big Tobacco's long history of denying smoking's link to cancer and other harmful health effects, Franzon said he understands there is skepticism about PMI's intentions. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.