Girl holding tobacco heating system device with tobacco stick by Marco Verch Professional Photography licensed under CC BY 2.0

A new study found a significant reduction in indicators of potential harm over six months for smokers switching to exclusive use of tobacco heating products compared with continuing to smoke cigarettes. This research, published in the journal of Internal and Emergency Medicine, represents the first ever long-term study showing sustained reduction in exposure to certain toxicants and indicators of potential harm in smokers switching completely to tobacco heating products. The results of the study unequivocally demonstrated the harm reduction benefits of tobacco heating products.

To test the effects of tobacco heating products, researchers conducted a randomized clinical study carried out at four sites across the UK. Participants included smokers aged 23 to 55 in good general health who either did or did not want to quit. What makes this design so unique is that it tested the risk reduction potential of tobacco heating products when used in a real world setting rather than in a controlled setting. Amazingly, the researchers found that, for most biomarkers measured, the reductions seen in people using tobacco heating products were similar to those in participants who stopped smoking completely.

These findings come on the heels of previous scientific studies which have shown that e-cigarettes are an effective way to get people to quit the deadly habit of smoking. According to the latest analysis from Public Health England, vaping has a positive association with successfully quitting smoking. They found that, in 2017 alone, 50,000 people used vaping products to stop smoking. Coupling their propensity for smoking cessation with the fact that vaping is 95% less harmful than combustible tobacco, it is hard to imagine why lawmakers oppose giving people access to these potentially life-saving products. 

Bolstering the arguments of those who want to reduce barriers to vaping products, this study provides essential data in the fight against vaping misinformation. The main findings of the study can be read below, while the full study is available here

Key Findings: 

  • Tobacco heating products were associated with a significant reduction in a biomarker for lung cancer risk
  • Participants who used tobacco heating products saw improvement in their HDL cholesterol. This is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Those who used tobacco heating products saw improvements in key indicators of lung health

These findings underscore the need for policies around vaping to be guided by science, not misinformation. Countries should look to Japan as a shining example of what can be accomplished with tobacco heating products. In Japan cigarette sales have decreased by 43% over the past five years, the greatest decrease in recorded history. This drastic reduction in cigarette use is a direct result of tobacco heating products. 

This new research represents an important step toward fully understanding the public health benefits of vaping products. Professor John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health England recently stressed: “For anyone who smokes, particularly those who have already tried other methods, we strongly recommend they try vaping and stop smoking.”

Lawmakers need to focus on helping smokers to quit their deadly habit, rather than pushing to restrict access to products that have the potential to save lives.