Non-combustible tobacco products such as heat-not-burn devices offer the best way to end the smoking epidemic that kills 20,000 people a day, according to health experts.
Japan saw cigarette sales fall 27 percent in two years with the introduction of heat-not-burn products, according to Prof. Gerry Stimson of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the program director of the 6th Global Forum on Nicotine. Around 17 percent of the Japan cigarette market have switched to IQOS, the heated tobacco system of Philip Morris Internal.
David Sweanor, a lawyer and chair of the advisory board of the Centre for Health Law, Policy & Ethics at the University of Ottawa, said electronic nicotine delivery systems such as heat-not-burn products, electronic cigarettes, and Swedish snus were much safer alternatives to cigarette smoking.
“In Japan, with the introduction of heated tobacco products, one-third of the cigarette market was gone,” Sweanor said in a news conference at the sidelines of the 6th Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw, Poland in June 2019.
“We know enough science to know that we can have enough products that have a tiny fraction of the risks of cigarettes. We have seen examples around the world that many smokers will move to these products,” Sweanor said.
About 62 countries currently regulate electronic nicotine delivery systems under tobacco regulation, while 39 countries inappropriately ban safer nicotine products, according to the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction Report.
The report estimates that by 2021, over 55 million people will be using e-cigarettes or heat-not-burn tobacco products and that the global market will be worth $35 billion. The top five markets today are the US, the UK, Italy, Germany, and France.
Japan is the leading market for heat-not-burn tobacco products. Sweanor said tobacco companies were now forced to offer safer nicotine products because of the rising demand from consumers.