A new study by the USA’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) suggests that innovative smoking alternatives could lead to a rapid decline in the use of traditional cigarettes.
The study comes after a joint report by the NCI and the World Health Organization (WHO) that showed that heated tobacco products have significantly reduced the sales of traditional cigarettes in Japan since 2016. The report also revealed that the economic burden of tobacco use is more than $1trn per year and that new tobacco control policies are vital for protecting public health.
Moreover, the report indicated that several countries, such as the United States, Portugal, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the Czech Republic, the Philippines, and Greece, have acknowledged the potential of alternative products to lower the risks of traditional cigarettes.
Scientific research has proven that the combustion of tobacco in a traditional cigarette is the main cause of smoking-related diseases, not nicotine. The burning process produces more than 6,000 harmful or potentially harmful chemicals that cause these diseases. In contrast, smoke-free alternatives eliminate combustion and replace it by heating tobacco at a temperature that does not exceed 350 degrees Celsius, which prevents it from burning. As a result, the average levels of harmful substances are reduced by up to 95% compared to cigarette smoke, but this does not necessarily mean that the harm from smoking is reduced by the same percentage, or that these alternatives are completely risk-free.
Although nicotine is one of the reasons for continuing to smoke, scientific research has confirmed that it is not responsible for causing smoking-related diseases, but it is still an addictive substance, and is not risk-free, according to Scott Gottlieb, Commissioner of Food and Drugs. “It’s not nicotine that kills you, it’s the carcinogens from burned tobacco,” he said in 2017.