BAT Says Switch to Heated Tobacco Helps Health Markers in Study
(Bloomberg) -- British American Tobacco Plc said smokers who switch to its heated-tobacco product had reduced their exposure to toxic chemicals linked to smoking-related illnesses in a study.
Smokers who adopted BAT’s Glo product saw most indicators for the risk of lung cancer or cardiovascular disease drop to levels similar to those found in people who had quit smoking after six months, according to peer-reviewed research published Thursday. BAT funded and conducted the trial.
The findings provide the maker of Lucky Strike and Newport cigarettes with further evidence that heated tobacco is a potentially less risky product than traditional combustible cigarettes, which may facilitate discussions with regulators and public-health authorities. Philip Morris International Inc.’s IQOS device kicked off a race to win over customers with smoke-free alternatives including vaping and oral nicotine pouches.
Anti-tobacco groups argue the industry is trying to keep consumers hooked on nicotine and point out there are no studies available that show the long-term effects of using heated-tobacco or vaping. The companies counter that there are scores of smokers who either can’t or don’t want to quit, and that it would be a disservice to consumers not to offer potentially risk-reduced alternatives.
The study involved more than 300 U.K.-based participants, aged 23 to 55 in good general health who either never smoked, wanted to quit smoking or intended to continue smoking. At regular clinic visits, they provided urine and blood samples and performed a spirometry test, which measures how much air a person can breathe out in one forced breath, often used to diagnose certain lung conditions.
Further results from the completed 12-month study are due by the end of the year and will determine whether the reduced exposure to toxicants and biomarkers of potential harm are maintained over the duration of the test.
BAT’s U.S. subsidiary Reynolds American in May won the first round of a legal trade battle with Philip Morris that could lead to an import ban of IQOS heated-tobacco sticks to the U.S. on patent infringement claims. BAT has not submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to bring its heated-tobacco product to market yet.
Michael R. Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, has been a longtime champion of tobacco-control efforts. He has campaigned against flavored e-cigarettes and Bloomberg Philanthropies supports Protect Kids: Fight Flavored E-Cigarettes, an initiative to remove them from the market.
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