Heat-Not-Burn Could Replace Vapes to Help Adult Smokers Reduce Risk without Attracting Youth, Non-Smokers
October 12th, 2021
App, Exclusive, News, Top Story
Most adults and regulators recognize the harm of tobacco, but flavored high-nicotine vaping products have evaded regulatory scrutiny. While the U.K., Europe, and Canada outlawed vape products containing high nicotine levels, the FDA only recently denied marketing approval for hundreds of vape brands and ordered them off store shelves.
The new FDA ban prevents many more contemporary brands from reaching customers, but most established brands, like JUUL and blu, remain untouched—for now. These products represent more than two-thirds of the vape market and are still on store shelves, but the FDA could severely limit their nicotine content and only permit tobacco flavors in the near-term.
The original promise of the vaping industry was to help existing adult smokers transition to a less dangerous product and ultimately quit smoking. But, unfortunately, the FDA found in its review that vape companies provided no sound scientific evidence that their products help adult smokers quit—instead, they’re hooking high school and middle school students.
Youth Consumption on the Rise
More than three million U.S. high school students and another half-million middle school students use these vape products, addicted to high nicotine levels and flavors like menthol, fruit, candy, and mint. In 2020, about 83% of youth vape consumers chose flavored varieties, and vapes had nicotine levels two to three times greater than what Europe allows.
While the long-term health effects are unknown, a growing body of evidence suggests that vape products could adversely affect cardiovascular and lung health. For example, the aerosol produced by vaping cartridges may include cancer-causing chemicals, ultrafine particles, heavy metals, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
According to the CDC, high nicotine levels may also interfere with adolescent brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s. Young people that vape may also be more likely to smoke cigarettes or consume in the future. And of course, the FDA found no evidence the vapes help existing smokers quit—the vape industry’s original promise.
Alternatives to Quit Smoking
Heat-not-burn (HNB) products could provide an alternative to help adult smokers quit or transition to a safer consumption method. Unlike vape products, HNB products are designed to feel like a traditional cigarette and mimic the smoking experience more accurately. In addition, there’s no flavoring to attract young students or non-smokers.
For example, the IQOS heats tobacco without burning it, producing the same experience with less smoke than a conventional cigarette. Another example is Poda Holdings, Inc. (CSE: PODA) (FSE: 99L) (OTC: PODAF), which takes a different approach by heating tea leaves and synthetic nicotine rather than tobacco to create an experience similar to a traditional cigarette without toxic chemicals.
See PODA CEO Ryan Selby discuss the company’s approach to smoking cessation
The FDA authorized IQOS in July of 2020 to be marketed as a “modified risk” tobacco product, making it the first product to receive “exposure modification” orders. As a result, IQOS can advertise that switching from regular cigarettes to IQOS can reduce a person’s exposure to harmful chemicals, making it an actual smoking cessation solution.
The FDA is finally taking action against the vape industry. Meanwhile, the HNB industry could provide a more compelling alternative to help adult smokers reduce risk without attracting youth or non-smokers. The jury is still out on these products, but the FDA’s decisions regarding IQOS could pave the way for vapes to be replaced with HNB products.
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