23 January 2020
New smoke-free products are qualitatively and quantitatively different from cigarettes, leading to technical and experimental challenges assessing these products. Philip Morris International (PMI) has just published extensive details of the research methods and technologies it uses for the scientific study of heated tobacco products. Transparent sharing of protocols, tools, and data with fellow scientists in academia, industry, and regulatory bodies promotes understanding and use of best practices and methods.
Research methodology matters
PMI researchers have published a new peer-reviewed article detailing the methods and technologies it uses for the scientific study of heated tobacco products. This publication covers the development of state-of-the-art aerosol generation using modified “smoking machines”, technologies used for the collection, fractionation, and analysis of aerosols, as well as exposure systems used for both in vivo and advanced in vitro studies. Heated tobacco products may have an important role to play in tobacco harm reduction, a complementary strategy that sits alongside smoking prevention and cessation initiatives to accelerate the decline in smoking prevalence and smoking-related population harm.
“Both quantitatively and qualitatively, the nicotine-containing aerosols generated by heat-not-burn tobacco products are significantly different from cigarette smoke,” said one of the authors, Arkadiusz Kuczaj; Associate Professor, Industrial Computational Modeling, University of Twente; and Manager, Aerosol Research and Dosimetry, PMI. “Researchers are thus faced with a series of technical and experimental challenges when comparing the toxicity of heat-not-burn aerosols with cigarette smoke. As the methods and experimental setups that have been developed for the study of cigarette smoke cannot be transposed directly to the study of heat-not-burn aerosols, we have dedicated significant research efforts to the development, characterization and validation of experimental setups and methods suitable for these newer aerosols.”
Sharing state-of-the-art methodologies for product assessment
“We are delighted to share details of the protocols, tools, and data that we use in the assessment of our heated tobacco products, both through this latest publication and our online sharing platform INTERVALS,” said Prof. Manuel C. Peitsch, Chief Science Officer, PMI and fellow author of the paper. “We hope that in doing so we can foster high quality science aimed at the verification of existing evidence and the development of sound methodological standards to assess heated tobacco products.”
INTERVALS is an open online platform for sharing data, software, and scientific protocols related to Reduced-Risk Products (RRPs), 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 continuing smoking. Designed to enable third-party collaboration and analysis, the platform includes full, standardized, and extensively annotated datasets from a number of clinical and pre-clinical studies that PMI has conducted as part of the assessment of its RRPs. Scientists are encouraged to add their own independent research to INTERVALS, thereby contributing to transparency in the field and increasing the visibility of their work.