BAT Science - Challenges and research gaps

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Challenges and research gaps

Tobacco-heating products present new challenges that require additional research in three key areas:

  • Product science

  • Stewardship

  • Potential for reduced risk

We need to develop a full understanding of all aspects of how heating products operate and how consumers use them. This is important both for the development of progressively better products and for stewardship of the category. The stewardship of cigarettes is not directly transferable to tobacco-heating products, which are substantially different to both cigarettes and e-cigarettes. The lower temperatures involved mean that some of the processes seen in cigarettes do not occur in heated tobacco and vice versa. As a result, research must focus on potential new toxicants as well as those already associated with smoking cigarettes. Additionally, testing regimes may need to be adapted and standardised for heated-tobacco aerosols which, considerably less complex than cigarette smoke and rich in substances like glycerol, may exhibit different evaporation patterns to cigarette smoke.

Additionally, we must define the studies needed to evaluate whether tobacco-heating products have the potential for reducing smoking-related risks. Historically, such devices have not been popular, and so little or no epidemiologic data exists on their risks relative to other tobacco and nicotine products. Evaluating this will require a series of multi-disciplinary studies that must also consider patterns of consumer use.

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