For the past few months, cigarette manufacturers have been trying everything they can to widen their range of products. The idea is to offer alternatives to tobacco lest e-cigarette manufacturers totally overtake the market. However, the flagship product IQOS may be more of a health hazard than was initially claimed.
Philip Morris is looking to heavily promote IQOS. According to them, this tobacco-heating device does not pose any health risks and is a completely safe alternative to traditional cigarettes. The Swiss NGO Blue Cross recently conducted a study in an independent laboratory that contradicts this theory.
The study shows that toxic elements are released with filters heated at or above 100 ºC … but IQOS’ maximum heat can go up to between 300 and 350 ºC, releasing harmful particles called isocyanates. These chemicals are particularly dangerous to human health.
Philip Morris recognizes the problem
Isocyanates are a well-known toxic substance. They can be found in solvents and various industrial kinds of paint, and should not be inhaled or touched without skin protection. They can also cause ocular lesions, asthma, and chronic bronchitis, as well as eczema.
The American cigarette manufacturer was alarmed by the news and acknowledged the study. However, Philip Morris’ spokesperson insisted that the toxin is not inhaled when using the IQOS device. He also said that the conditions in the laboratory were not “realistic”; according to the firm, “almost all carcinogenic substances” are eliminated when using the tobacco-heating device.
This is a strange argument that brings up a few questions. First, why would Philip Morris not tell the public about isocyanates? Has Philip Morris conducted secret tests upstream? More than ever, electronic cigarettes are proving to be a much safer alternative than heated tobacco.