May 21, 2019 – IQOS


Anchor lead: Can a ‘heat not burn’ device make smoking less harmful? Elizabeth Tracey reports

The tobacco giant Philip Morris is about to unleash a new nicotine delivery device on the market, called IQOS, for which it has gotten FDA approval. This is a so-called heat not burn device. Michael Blaha, a tobacco regulation expert and cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Blaha: This is very complicated. The FDA has recently taken a stance toward what we call modified risk tobacco products. What modified risk means is a tobacco product that causes less harm we think than smoking, but certainly more harm than if you don’t do it at all. And there’s a discussion right now whether that’s a good thing to approve these products that might cause less harm and get people away from smoking and to a different product but there’s always that downside potentially increasing the access to these devices to people who don’t smoke cigarettes and that might be their first entry into the tobacco world.  :30

This harm reduction strategy may benefit current smokers of combustible cigarettes but seems just one more way to addict people to nicotine for those who don’t smoke. Similar devices are already being sold in 47 countries worldwide. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.