The curious case of Heated Tobacco Products

Approximately ten years ago, tobacco sales in high-income countries were falling, mainly due to an increased awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco smoking and the measures taken to reduce smoking incidence. This encouraged even the most resistant policymakers to follow the articles outlined in the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC)[1] and adopt stricter and stricter tobacco regulations. For the first time, many countries faced the possibility of ending the tobacco epidemic and the prospect of a smoke-free future.To get more news about Hitaste Hi10, you can visit official website.

In reaction to this dramatic impact on their business, tobacco companies succeeded in introducing the heated tobacco product (HTP), a new device designed allegedly to be relatively safe. HTPs are hybrids between electronic cigarettes and combusted cigarettes: as electronic cigarettes, they are equipped with an electronic device heating a product to generate an aerosol containing nicotine; as combusted cigarettes, the heated product is “real” tobacco.[4,5] HTPs therefore pose potential dangers to public health and the nicotine ensures that consumers remain enslaved, guaranteeing future customers for tobacco companies among the youngest generations.

Philip Morris International (PMI) launched IQOS, the first HTP, for the first time in December 2014, selecting Milan, Italy and Nagoya, Japan as pilot cities for the European and Asian markets respectively. Today IQOS is available in a large majority of high-income countries, together with other HTPs such as Glo of British American Tobacco (BAT) and Pax of Japan Tobacco International (JTI).[4,6]
When launching in Italy, PMI found a way to convince policymakers – without providing any independent scientific evidence – that their product was less harmful than combustible tobacco and effective in reducing the consumption of traditional cigarettes and the number of smokers. PMI started donating large amounts of money to major humanitarian movements, including the Italian Red Cross,7 in order to prove that it is moral and honourable to accept large donations from the tobacco industry. The tobacco industry also donated large amounts of money to the Italian foundations of the main political parties (they call it “lobbying”, a legal activity).[8]

Furthermore, PMI is investing almost US$1bn over the next 12 years(link is external) in the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, an organisation whose main aim is to finance research to justify the assertion that IQOS is acceptable from both a safety and a public health perspective.[9] For this reason, the scientific literature is already highly contaminated by potentially biased data, funded and controlled by the tobacco industry.[10]

Finally, despite the fact that some other nicotine delivery products, such as the Swedish snus (smokeless tobacco),[11] did not fulfil the safety requirements to enter into the Italian market, PMI found a way to convince policymakers to allow them to commercialise IQOS. Indeed, Italian policymakers even decided to substantially cut excise taxes for these novel tobacco products. Moreover, they allowed PMI and other tobacco companies to evade the regulations that cover tobacco products. Thus, HTPs are not subject to any national legislation banning smoking in indoor public places and workplaces or advertising, and they are not subject to the same pictorial health warning packaging as for combusted cigarettes.[4] This is true not only for Italy, but also for most other high-income countries.