A recent British study carried about the Committee on Toxicity (COT) has warned consumers of heated-tobacco devices. Big Tobacco is currently marketing these devices as a “no risk” alternative to traditional cigarettes. However, the devices may be much more dangerous than Big Tobacco is letting on.
The scientists involved in the study analyzed the dangers with two heated-tobacco products currently available on the British market: Philip Morris’ iQos and the I’Fuse from British American Tobacco. The study’s results are much more nuanced than the findings of previous studies and clinical trials provided by tobacco companies.
While the tobacco industry says these devices are 90% less harmless than traditional cigarettes, the British study only showed a 50-90% decrease in harmfulness. What’s more, dangerous and potentially carcinogenic compounds are still present when using both the Iqos and the iFuse devices.
Health risks are still hard to determine
The president of the study’s committee, Professor Alan Boobis, declared that using heated-tobacco devices represents “a risk to users”. Although labeled as “probably less harmful,” these products still contain substances that pose a health risk, much like traditional cigarettes.
According to the British study, risk reduction is hard to quantify. The study’s committee insists that as of now, there is not enough evidence to make any claim regarding potential health benefits of heated-tobacco devices. Consequently, the committee does not currently recognize any potential benefits to using the iQos or the iFuse. Furthermore, British health authorities do not recommend these devices to consumers who are hoping to use them to quit cigarettes.
The Committee on Toxicity has encouraged smokers to “try e-cigarettes”. The Department of Health has taken a similar position. According to the British government, and at the present time, only the e-cigarette, 95% less harmful than cigarettes, is a reliable and safe nicotine substitute.