A review conducted in collaboration between COEHAR and the UNAM of Mexico City assessed the quality of experiments and methods for detecting toxic components in the aerosol of heated tobacco products. The findings established that any harmful substances present are at substantially lower concentrations compared to cigarette smoke
Catania, 22 November 2023– In a world where conventional tobacco cigarettes contribute to over 7 million premature deaths annually, the urgent need for alternative strategies to combat smoking-related health risks is undeniable. Tobacco harm reduction strategies present e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products as promising alternatives for mitigating the toxic impact of nicotine delivery through combustion free products. While not entirely risk-free, THR products expose users to significantly lower levels of hazardous compounds.
A recently published review conducted in collaboration between the CoEHAR of the University of Catania and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, “Aerosol Emissions from Heated Tobacco Products: A Review Focusing on Carbonyls, Analytical Methods, and Experimental Quality”, meticulously analyzes 17 studies on HTP aerosol emissions, differentiating between industry-funded and independent research. Emphasis was placed on the experimental quality and analytical methods, with a specific focus on carbonyls, notably aldehydes, which play a significant role in tobacco smoke toxicity.
“ Our comprehensive analysis underscores that the aerosol from heated tobacco products (HTPs) contains markedly fewer and substantially lower concentrations of toxic compounds compared to traditional cigarette smoke,” Professor Roberto A. Sussman, first author of the study, stated. “However, despite the reduced levels, the existence of harmful compounds in HTPs and e-cigarettes, notably aldehydes, necessitates vigilant oversight.”
The review included 17 Independent and tobacco company-funded studies to highlight the limitations of analytical methods and puff regimens and capture the protocols used in the analysis of carbonyls from cigarette smoke and HTP aerosols. Data from the review sustain the general idea that heated tobacco product emissions may contain potentially worrying components but at substantially lower concentrations than tobacco smoke. Scientists’ revision clearly supports the validity of the experimental evidence behind this consensus.
Even if the background and the analytical techniques of the studies are different, due to the the difference in HTP regulation among nations, the aerosol generation techniques and analytical methods used to test the emissions tend to follow a relatively standardized pattern. Consequently, the quantification of the presence of carbonyls tended to have to similar outcomes.
According to the researchers, there’s the need to monitor the effectiveness of HTPs within the tobacco harm reduction approach to address the harmful effects of smoking and to assist in smoking cessation. Emission studies showing a reduction in exposure to toxicant components relative to tobacco cigarettes constitute the first step in assessing the health effects of HTPs in actual users, especially the long-term effects.