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Carbon Heated Tobacco Reduces Toxicity

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New toxicological data have demonstrated the potential of Philip Morris International’s (PMI’s) carbon heated tobacco product (CHTP) to present less risk of harm to smokers who switch to this product versus continued cigarette smoking. The data, presented at the Society of Toxicology (SOT) Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD, USA, show that across a range of pre-clinical assessment studies the aerosol produced by CHTP generates significantly reduced harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) compared to cigarette smoke, and appears to have a significantly reduced biological impact.1-6

“Our comprehensive pre-clinical assessment of CHTP involves a range of advanced in vitro, in vivo and systems toxicology studies”, said Professor Manuel Peitsch, Chief Scientific Officer, PMI. “We are delighted to have shared the latest results of these studies with leading toxicologists from around the world at the SOT Annual Meeting. As we seek to develop products with the potential to reduce the risks associated with cigarette smoking, it is crucial to have our methodologies and results scrutinized by the external scientific community”.

CHTP is a novel tobacco product that uses a carbon heat-source to heat tobacco to a controlled temperature, below that which is necessary for combustion, producing an aerosol containing nicotine and tobacco flavor. By eradicating combustion, which occurs in the use of cigarettes, it is hoped that CHTP will carry a reduced risk of smoking related disease and adverse health outcomes. CHTP is one of a range of technologies being investigated in PMI’s portfolio of Reduced-Risk Products (RRPs).

In vitro studies on human oral, nasal and bronchial epithelial cells show that the impact of CHTP aerosol was considerably lower than cigarette smoke with regard to cell toxicity, cell morphology, inflammatory responses and the perturbation of biological processes.1-3 Another study revealed reduced effects of CHTP aerosol on the adhesion of monocytic cells to artery endothelial cells, a key step in the development of cardiovascular disease.4 A 90-day inhalation study, complemented with further systems toxicological analysis, found considerably lower levels of HPHCs generated from CHTP aerosol as compared to cigarette smoke, and in general fewer changes to exposed tissues.5-6

“Not only do these studies show highly promising results for CHTP, they also demonstrate what can be achieved with modern toxicological techniques”, said Dr Julia Hoeng, Director of Systems Toxicology, Biomedical Research, PMI. “We have shown how in vitro human cell cultures can be used in place of in vivo testing, how traditional toxicology endpoints can be enhanced with systems toxicological analysis, and how these approaches can be combined to generate more effective, efficient and timely toxicological testing strategies”.

Through technological innovation and rigorous scientific assessment, PMI is leading a full-scale effort to ensure that RRPs ultimately replace cigarettes.7 The data presented at the SOT Annual Meeting will contribute to a package of evidence that will be submitted to international regulatory bodies for their appraisal of the risk-reduction potential of CHTP.

This article has been republished from materials provided by PMI Science. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.


1. Iskandar, A. et al. Reduced impact of a heat-not-burn product aerosol in comparison with cigarette smoke: a systems toxicology assessment on organotypic buccal epithelial cultures. SOT 56th, March 12–16, 2017, Baltimore, MD, USA.

2. Iskandar, A. et al. An application of a systems toxicology approach to assess the biological impact of carbon-heated tobacco product aerosol using in vitro organotypic human nasal cultures. SOT 56th, March 12–16, 2017, Baltimore, MD, USA.

3. Gonzalez-Suarez, I. et al. In vitro systems toxicology assessment of a carbon-heated tobacco product in normal human bronchial epithelial cells. SOT 56th, March 12–16, 2017, Baltimore, MD, USA.

4. Poussin, C. et al. Reduced effects of aqueous aerosol extract from a candidate carbon-heated tobacco product compared with conventional cigarette on the adhesion of monocytic cells to human coronary arterial endothelial cells. SOT 56th, March 12–16, 2017, Baltimore, MD, USA.

5. Phillips, BW. et al. Toxicological assessment of the mainstream aerosol of a carbon-heated tobacco product in sprague-dawley rats: a 90-day subchronic inhalation study. SOT 56th, March 12–16, 2017, Baltimore, MD, USA.

6. Kogel, U. et al. Systems toxicological assessment of respiratory nasal epithelia after in vivo exposure to a carbon heated tobacco product compared with cigarettes. SOT 56th, March 12–16, 2017, Baltimore, MD, USA.

7. Philip Morris International, 2016. United Nations Global Compact Communication on Progress 2015. Available online at: https://www.unglobalcompact.org/participation/report/cop/create-and-submit/active/245741