Philip Morris Ltd has submitted an application to the Therapeutic Goods Administration to allow heated tobacco products (HTPs or heat-not-burn) to be sold in Australia as a consumer product.
ATHRA supports the availability of heated tobacco products as another tobacco harm reduction option for Australian smokers. HTPs can help smokers quit and are far safer alternatives to lethal tobacco cigarettes for adult smokers who can’t quit.
HTPs consist of a processed tobacco stick or capsule which is heated without burning in an electrical heating device to release nicotine and tobacco flavour. As there is no combustion or smoke, the resulting vapour has far fewer toxins than smoke and is considerably less harmful.
No one treatment works for every smoker and it is important to have a range of options. Smokers who wish to quit should try conventional treatments first, followed by vaping if unsuccessful. Smokers who are still unable to quit could consider the use of a HTP. HTPs can substantially reduce their exposure to toxins and the risk of smoking-related disease.
All heated tobacco products are made by tobacco companies. ATHRA hates tobacco companies, but we hate cancer, heart disease and emphysema more. The priority for tobacco control is to reduce smoking-related death and disease and these products can help some smokers.
How safe are they?
Recently, the leading heated tobacco product was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration which concluded that it could help people quit smoking and was “appropriate for the protection of the public health”.
Independent studies show that HTPs release fewer toxins, are less harmful than smoking and are substantially safer for bystanders. For example, a review of 31 studies found
“Compared with cigarettes, HnB delivered up to 83% of nicotine and reduced levels of harmful and potentially harmful toxicants by at least 62% and particulate matter by at least 75%”
The review found that 20 out of 31 studies were funded by the tobacco industry but that the findings from independent studies were ‘largely similar’.
A review by Public Health England in 2018 concluded:
“The available evidence suggests that heated tobacco products may be considerably less harmful than tobacco cigarettes and more harmful than electronic cigarettes”
The cancer risk has been estimated at between one and 10 percent that of smoking.
Heated tobacco products are approved and legal in over 50 countries including the US, Great Britain and New Zealand.
In Japan, the uptake of heated tobacco products has led to an unprecedented reduction in smoking rates. The sale of cigarettes in Japan has dropped by 31% in four years.
Similar reductions have been seen in Korea.
Studies have shown a low uptake of HTPs by non smoking youth.
Based on the overseas experience, HTPs could help lower smoking rates in Australia and reduce smoking-related death and disease. Australian smokers should not be deprived of this potentially lifesaving substitute.
To make a submission to support the amendment
1. Review the proposed amendment
- Go to the TGA website, scroll to 3.1 Nicotine [link]
2. See the PML submission
- Philip Morris briefing note [link]
- Philip Morris submission to amend the Poisons Standard
- Philip Morris submission: supporting data, bibliography
3. Respond [link]
- Prepare a submission. Include whether or not you support the amendment
- Download and complete the cover sheet [link]
- Email to Joint ACMS-ACSS: email@example.com
- Include in the subject line of the email: ‘Proposed Amendments to the Poisons Standard (Medicines/Chemicals)