- Philip Morris International say it could help kill off traditional cigarettes
- The IQOS smokeless cigarettes work by heating tobacco – not burning it
- The electronic device costs £45 and works with mini tobacco sticks
- Experts say this helps it to deliver far fewer toxins than common products
A tobacco giant has launched a smokeless cigarette that contains 90 per cent less toxins than ordinary ones.
Philip Morris International say the device, which delivers the same nicotine hit, could allow for traditional cigarettes to be phased out.
The IQOS product, which costs £45, is already on sale in over a dozen markets, including Japan, Switzerland and Italy.
Different from e-cigarettes, the electronic device is used with mini tobacco sticks as opposed to a nicotine-laced liquid – which cost £8 for 20.
These are then placed into the device before being heated, which experts say makes them much less harmful because they aren’t burning the tobacco.
But experts argue that the innovative device will never be safer than e-cigarettes and doesn’t appear to be a safe option.
Philip Morris International say the IQOS device, which delivers the same nicotine hit, could allow for traditional cigarettes to be phased out
In an interview with the BBC, the company’s chief executive, Andre Calantzopoulos said: ‘I believe there will come a moment in time where I would say we have sufficient adoption of these alternative products… to start envisaging, together with governments, a phase-out period for cigarettes.
‘I hope this time will come soon.’
Philip Morris, who produce Marlboro cigarettes everywhere except the US, gets the vast majority of its sales and profits from traditional cigarettes.
But even though the tobacco market is shrinking as more people quit and take up e-cigarettes, they say by 2025 there will still be a billion smokers worldwide.
However, rival cigarette firms are close behind, testing their similar devices in scientific trials.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH said: ‘Philip Morris states that this is potentially a reduced risk product.
‘If smokers switch to electronic cigarettes or other products that can be shown to cut the risks to their health, this could lead to a big improvement in public health.
It heats tobacco enough to produce a vapour without burning it, which experts believe makes it much less harmful
‘But we need independent evidence to support any claims made by the tobacco industry.
‘Philip Morris claims to be moving towards a post smoking future but, like other tobacco companies, it is still actively promoting smoking around the world, using methods that would be illegal in the UK.
‘From past experience nothing the tobacco companies say should be accepted at face value.
‘Fully independent research and assessment will be crucial if IQOS and related products are to be accepted as useful in fighting the smoking epidemic.’
WHY IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO QUIT SMOKING
It is never too late to quit smoking, scientists have claimed.
People who give up in their sixties still cut their chances of having an early death.
US researchers found stopping smoking even in retirement could help someone stay alive for longer.
The study discovered smokers aged 70 and over are unsurprisingly three times more likely to die than someone who has never had a cigarette.
But when they tracked people of this age who had smoked, they found just 27.9 per cent of those who quit in their sixties had died – compared to a third of those who never gave up.
Dr Martin Scurr, MailOnline’s resident doctor, said: ‘ It doesn’t matter whether you smoke a pipe, a cigar, or cigarettes, it’s cancer-causing.
‘Presenting the tobacco in a different way doesn’t change that.
‘We don’t know if it’s safe as there haven’t been studies to show it, so whatever the case it is going to be less safe than e-cigarettes.
‘Not combusting the tobacco and merely heating it may dilute the amount of toxins, but no-one would argue that it is a safe thing to do.
‘It’s not a safe move and we have to see what the outcome is on observational studies over a period of time.’
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 42.1 million Americans smoke cigarettes, a habit which remains the number one cause of preventable disease and death in the US.
While it is estimated that one in five adults in the UK currently smoke, equating to around 9.4 million people.
But smoking is believed to kill upwards of six million people a year and has been linked to 17 types of cancer.
Globally, the habit killed 100 million people in the 20th century, many more than all deaths in World Wars I and II combined.
The World Health Organization predict more than 1 billion tobacco-related deaths will occur this century.
An Australian study last year found that two-thirds of smokers will die early as a result of tobacco-related issues.
Philip Morris’ director of scientific engagement, Dr Moira Gilchrist said: ‘Our studies on IQOS are well advanced.
‘Findings to date demonstrate that IQOS vapour has significantly lower levels of harmful constituents and that the product has appeal to adult smokers.’