tobacco company PMI put an application to the TGA seeking to list tobacco prepared and packed for heating as an exempt item under the Poisons Standard. If accepted by the TGA, this would allow PMI – and other tobacco companies – to immediately sell their Heat Not Burn tobacco products all Australians over the age of 18.
What are Heat Not Burn products?
These products are electronic devices that, unlike e-cigarettes, contain tobacco leaf which is heated to generate a nicotine-containing vapour. This makes them different from conventional cigarettes, as well as e-cigarette or vaping devices that use chemical liquids. Heated tobacco products are currently available in more than 50 countries.
Why should you care?
Every year tobacco kills more than 15,500 Australians. It is the leading cause of preventable disease and injury burden in Australia.
PMI argues that scientific assessment shows Heat Not Burn products produce lower levels of toxic chemicals than cigarettes. While some short-term studies indicate that level of toxicants in the vapor in these products is lower than the levels in the smoke of conventional cigarettes [i], there is no evidence that these products reduce the risk of tobacco-related illnesses [ii].
PMI also says that Heat Not Burn products are a “better alternative for current Australian smokers who do not quit”. Evidence shows, however, that the introduction of Heat Not Burn products would likely expand the tobacco market by attracting new users – young people in particular – and significantly reduce smoking cessation rates.
Lung Foundation Australia maintains our position that there are alternative, proven smoking cessation methods, such as best practice nicotine delivery systems and cessation programs, that do not expose the lungs to harmful elements. We are strongly recommending that the TGA adopt a protective and precautionary approach to Heat Not Burn products.