New tobacco products debunked

23 March 2018:

There is a plethora of new products tobacco companies are marketing in recent times. The tobacco companies are introducing these products thick and fast into the countries before the authorities can figure them out or regulate them. Warning – there is a quagmire of products and some of them are hybrids, and still evolving. It can be confusing and confounding.

Bottom line – none of them are safe or completely harmless. They all have varying degrees of harm but the tobacco companies prefer to call them “safer” products. Here is a glossary of terms the tobacco industry has been using to market these products and describe them at pro-industry platforms.

It is quite extraordinary for new consumer products that have risks to be introduced into the market and sold as being “safer” or with “less risk”. This is a shocking aberration as it violates basic consumer rights. In the real consumer world, when a product is discovered to contain a risk, it is withdrawn from the market and consumers who have been harmed are compensated. 

The tobacco industry is brazen in that it is introducing new risky products while still continuing to sell its main harmful product that kills half its regular customers prematurely. 

Here are a few industry terms for these so called less risky, (but not harmless), products and what they really mean:

Tobacco industry term What they really are
1 Reduced risk products (RRP), also called ‘next generation product’ (NGP)
PMI: “products that present, are likely to present, or have the potential to present less risk of harm to smokers who switch to these products versus continued smoking.
Tobacco products that give the impression they are’ safer’ but they are not harmless. Some of them are tobacco based and contain nicotine, hence they are still addictive.
2 Potentially reduced risk products” – BAT qualifies its reduced risk products These only have the ‘potential’ to be less risky, but may not actually be less risky.
3 HNB: heat-not-burn
Tobacco product that delivers a nicotine containing vapor (aerosol). PMI’s brands of heated tobacco products are HEET and iQOS. They are also called heatSticks. PMI is already selling HEETS Marlboro and Marlboro HeatSticks

WHO uses the term ‘heated tobacco products’. There is no evidence that HTPs are less harmful than conventional tobacco products. These products use tobacco which still contain nicotine to keep the smoker addicted.

WHO fact sheet:

4 Tobacco heating product
BAT calls its heated product, THP. Its brand, ‘glo’, claims the vapor formed contains 90-95% less toxicants than cigarette smoke

Heated tobacco product

The only safe level of tobacco use is zero use.


Tobacco vapor product

JTI sells PLOOM TECH which heats a non-nicotine liquid, and passes through a capsule containing granulated tobacco

The only safe level of tobacco use is zero

Glo iFuse

This is a hybrid product by BAT – uses an electronic device which fuses tobacco heating and vaping technology

Hybrids – governments will have difficulty in regulatory measures and need to use a catch-all phrase for these various products

The tobacco companies claim to have spent billions of dollars developing these products. BAT claims it has spent about US$2.5 billion, while PMI claims it spent US$4.5 billion.  JTI on the other hand has a school-science-project type diagrams to help the public understand the complex technology involved in developing these new products. JTI is also pushing a ‘Model Regulatory Framework’ (MRF) which has weasel words like ““balanced” regulations for these new products. Governments need to implement the WHO FCTC and its guidelines fully to curb the tobacco epidemic.

Collectively the global tobacco industry is worth US$760 billion (excluding China). More than US$680 billion of this comes from the sale of regular cigarettes. This staggering figure is more than the economy of some of our countries.

The tobacco industry is still in the nicotine delivery business – a business based on profits from addicting people. Rather than trying to convince governments and people that they care for our health, the tobacco industry should, for starters, stop selling its cigarettes, compensate for the harm it has been causing to its customers around the globe, reimburse governments for the money spent in treating tobacco related diseases and withdraw all court cases against governments.

According to ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) USA, “Tobacco “control” is not enough. The only acceptable number of tobacco related deaths is ZERO.” The tobacco industry cannot begin a conversation about RRPs before it admits the product it is still selling is harmful and it has to fully compensate its victims.