6 March 2017
To achieve tobacco harm reduction, it is important that a new product be accepted by current smokers and presents less risk of harm compared to continued smoking. At the same time, we need to minimize the likelihood of interfering with smoking cessation, or increasing initiation among non-smokers.
In other words, the question is whether the likelihood and magnitude of intended use of our smoke-free products will outweigh the likelihood and magnitude of unintended use. This is why answering these questions constitutes an integral part of our scientific assessment.
1. Perception and Behavior studies monitor the rate at which smokers switch to our smoke-free products and have confirmed that our communication material is not appealing to non-smokers.
It is important not to interfere quitting attempts. We conduct extensive perception and behavior research to evaluate and minimize the risk that some smokers may choose to switch to a smoke-free product instead of quitting.
To be clear, smoke-free products are not an alternative to quitting; rather, they complement smoking cessation and prevention approaches.
We also ensure that our marketing and communications materials state that our smoke-free products are not intended for non-smokers. Former smokers should not relapse into tobacco and nicotine consumption, whether through cigarettes or our smoke-free products.
2. Long-term studies continue monitoring the effect of our smoke-free products on the population
Our goal of positively affecting population health as a whole with our smoke-free products compared with continued smoking can be assessed through long-term studies. We will conduct such studies and have also established a post-market surveillance program. These will allow us to observe if there are any unforeseen health consequences of switching to our smoke-free products. We will also be able to better understand patterns of use. For example, will smokers who choose to continue smoking convert fully to our smoke-free products?