Open Science, April 2023

      Is the Tobacco Heating System's aerosol different from cigarette smoke?

      In this Open Science event, our scientists shared insights into our studies on aerosols, detailing how we analyze the chemicals present in the aerosol generated by heated tobacco products, such as the Tobacco Heating System (THS).

      Scientific insights on aerosol studies of THS

      Smoking a cigarette is the most harmful way of extracting nicotine because the smoke of a cigarette contains thousands of chemicals, many of which have been identified as harmful or potentially harmful to health. The best choice any smoker can make is to quit using all tobacco and nicotine products altogether. 

      However, we know that many will continue to smoke. Thanks to science and technology, for those adult smokers who do not quit, there are a growing number of better, scientifically substantiated smoke-free products available today. The titular concept behind smoke-free products, which are alternatives to cigarettes for adults who don’t quit, is to avoid producing smoke, i.e., to avoid burning tobacco, and in this way to significantly reduce the levels of harmful chemicals present in their aerosol as compared with cigarette smoke. Whether a specific product indeed releases lower levels of harmful chemicals should be confirmed via scientific assessment.

      At Philip Morris International (PMI), we have conducted several studies on the aerosol of our smoke-free products. In this Open Science event, we highlight THS, commercialized as IQOS, as an example. Our studies on THS aerosol include both a targeted assessment of the levels of 58 constituents (the PMI-58 list) in THS aerosol, as well as a comprehensive chemical characterization of the aerosol using untargeted methods

      In this Open Science in Brief, experts from our product assessment program gave an overview of the THS system and the results of our aerosol analysis. They also discussed how we built the PMI-58 list of aerosol constituents based on priority lists published by the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Health Canada.  

      Event Details

      Is THS aerosol different from cigarette smoke?

      In this Open Science in Brief event, we dove into the details behind these facts, and how they fit into the bigger discussion around public health. Dr. Catherine Goujon-Ginglinger and Dr. Maurice Smith discussed these topics and answered some of the most frequently asked questions about our aerosol analyses.

      Former journalist, Sukhi Hayer moderated this pre-recorded event. During the session, Maurice and Catherine also answered questions from the audience in the live chat.

      How do we know what is in the aerosol of our heated tobacco product?

      In our tenth Open Science event, two of our leading scientists, Dr. Catherine Goujon-Ginglinger and Dr. Maurice Smith share their knowledge and expertise on PMI’s aerosol research. Together, they provide an overview of our leading heated tobacco product, how its emissions compare with those from cigarettes, and how the chemical analysis of its aerosol is performed. 

      In addition, Dr. Smith explains the assessment program for smoke-free products in place at PMI to ensure that the reduced formation of harmful and potentially harmful constituents is translated into reduced exposure and, ultimately, reduced risk for the user. While Dr. Goujon-Ginglinger highlights the various lists of specific toxicants available for the targeted chemical analysis of aerosols, including FDA 18, Health Canada 44, WHO 39, and FDA 93, and clarifies the reasoning behind the development of PMI’s own list of 58 analytes. 

      This focus on aerosol research aligns with PMI’s commitment to advancing scientific knowledge, promoting harm reduction, and developing innovative smoke-free alternatives. Watch our Open Science video to learn more.