The Global Forum on Nicotine (GFN) 2020 invited Dr. Moira Gilchrist, VP Strategic & Scientific Communications, to speak at its "Can a leopard change its spots?" session. (You can find some of the content she presented here and the video here.) Unlike prior years, this event avoids the typically large gathering in Warsaw by going online. This certainly beats canceling the conference, and even better: it opens up the latest science to even more people.
But it also means those of us who usually attend these events can’t discuss our latest unpublished research face to face with fellow scientists or dig into the details of others’ research during coffee breaks. At times like these, we do our best to find new ways to share our science openly. So, here’s a sort of virtual coffee break discussion, touching on both our own science and some of the independent research we’d like to highlight.
For those who might not be aware of PMI’s research program, we have invested over 7.2 billion USD in fundamental research, product development, scientific substantiation, and manufacturing capacity of our smoke-free products that are better alternatives for those adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke. More than 430 scientists and engineers work on our smoke-free products, having published more than 340 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters since 2008, most of which are open access and thus free to read.
Our four smoke-free products are in various stages of development, production, or commercialization. Our scientific assessment is built on a collaborative approach and expertise in many fields from chemistry, toxicology, biology, informatics, medicine, to perception and behavior. To date, these studies have shown that the Tobacco Heating System (THS) is likely to reduce the risk of harm for those who switch completely. Research from both PMI and from independent scientific communities on our smoke-free products continues.
We welcome and encourage independent research on our products, methods, and results. In the past few years, the number of independent studies on our smoke-free products have grown steadily. We’ve identified at least 85 studies with original data on our smoke-free products so far. As of today, independent scientific data supports PMI’s conclusion that THS produces lower levels of harmful chemicals compared to a cigarette. Independent studies are also emerging that support other aspects of our findings.
Beyond data that supports our own findings, researchers are studying topics that are not part of PMI’s assessment program. For example, a study by researchers working for the American Cancer Society showed that THS is the only plausible cause of a greater than usual drop in cigarette sales in Japan. Overall, numerous independent studies have also shown that smoke-free products have the potential to positively impact public health.
Last year at GFN we presented the results of our cross-sectional studies in Japan that showed our heated tobacco product was gaining ground among current smokers with minimal initiation among former smokers or non-smokers. This year we’re taking our scientific discussion a step further by taking advantage of publicly available real-world data on COPD and heart disease after product launch in Japan. We have looked at the number of hospital admissions for COPD and heart disease during the 5 years after product launch, and compared them with predictions based on data collected before product launch. This and four other posters were presented at our scientific update event.
Browse through a summary of one of our posters, which we would have presented at this year’s conference.