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The iQOS device, is a Heat not Burn (HnB) smokeless alternative to combustible cigarettes and works by heating tobacco leaves known as Heets or HeatSticks. These refills which look like short cigarettes, must be inserted into the device and are heated up once it is switched on.

Many Hong Kong anti-smoking groups are skeptical about the the safety of a product sold by a company which sells deadly cigarettes.
iQOS has now been successfully launched in over 30 countries, and Philip Morris claims that up to now approximately 4.7 million smokers have switched from regular cigarettes to the HnB product. And depending on the outcome of the discussions taking place in April, iQOS may also soon be launched in Hong Kong.

However, as around the rest of the world, many Hong Kong anti-smoking groups are skeptical about the the safety of a product sold by a company which sells deadly cigarettes. Naturally they assume that the launch of this product is nothing but another income generating scheme and a way “to downplay the health risks associated with smoking” and lure “curious youngsters” to try the device and become hooked on nicotine.

Irregularities in the research conducted by PMI

Former PMI employees who were involved in the clinical trials, reported a number of irregularities in the research process
Last November, Philip Morris released data suggesting that iQOS contains 90% fewer toxic chemicals than regular cigarettes, but the tobacco company is yet to release the full study, including all the raw data, by next June. However, the following month, former PMI employees who were involved in the clinical trials reported a number of irregularities in the research process.

 

Former coordinator for PMI’s trials and co-author of the company’s protocol used to run it’s studies globally, Tamara Koval, said that at some point she questioned the quality of some of the researchers and sites contracted to carry out this research. But voicing her concerns resulted in her being excluded from meetings.

Independent studies do indicate that HnB are safer alternatives

In 2016, PMI submitted a Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) application with the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products for iQOS. However last month, an FDA panel reviewed the iQOS application, and voted to reject over a million pages of evidence, dismissing PMI’s claim that iQOS is a safer alternative to cigarettes

On the other hand, in line with PMI’s claims, a number of reliable and independent studies have also indicated that although not completely risk free, the iQOS devices do carry significantly less health risks than regular cigarettes.

Read Further: The Standard

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