14 June 2019
Studies by scientists at British American Tobacco have shown that aerosol from potentially reduced-risk products (PRRPs), such as vapour and tobacco heating products (THPs), cause significantly less staining to tooth enamel, skin, cloth and wallpaper than does the smoke from conventional cigarettes.
The study results are presented today at the Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw, Poland.
PRRPs do not involve combustion; the vapour and aerosol they produce are less complex and contain significantly lower levels of certain toxicants as compared to cigarette smoke*. Vaping devices and THPs also do not produce a sidestream aerosol, resulting in reduced odour on consumers' hands and clothes, and lower environmental exposure for bystanders, as compared to conventional cigarettes.
It is well known that cigarette smokers can develop stains that discolour teeth enamel. Although this staining is often called nicotine staining, it is actually caused by the tar in cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke can also stain wallpaper, skin, and other materials.
BAT's scientists assessed the impact of aerosols from PRRPs. In the series of studies, a reference cigarette (3R4F), a THP (BAT's glo), and two innovative vapour products were assessed. To assess the staining levels, a wide range of materials were used, including wallpaper samples, porcine skin samples, and bovine enamel blocks.
In order to mimic conditions in the mouth, the enamel blocks were first incubated with saliva to allow the formation of a pellicle layer, a protective protein film that is normally present on teeth. They were then assessed before, during, and after exposure using a standard technique for assessing toothpaste or teeth-whitening agents.
To assess staining of the wallpaper and material samples required modification of BAT's cell culture chamber to allow the samples to be attached and exposed. To assess skin staining, porcine skin samples were incubated with particulate matter contained in the aerosols (isolated from the smoke/aerosols).
The results were remarkable -- exposure of tooth enamel, skin, wallpaper and material samples to aerosols from vapour products and THPs did not cause staining (levels of staining were comparable to untreated controls).
"A lack of combustion and significantly reduced emissions from glo as compared to conventional cigarettes mean there is less material to deposit and odour to linger. Again, this reflects consideration for others by those using the glo product," said John McAughey, BAT Principal Scientist for aerosol science.
These results show switching completely from cigarettes to vapour products or THPs may offer cosmetic and social benefits for consumers. "These benefits around social consideration and personal hygiene are really resonating with users", said Senior Scientist Annette Dalrymple, who presented the results at the conference.
"The data generated from this study clearly show that the vapour product and THP assessed caused minimal discoloration — very promising for consumers. However, further studies are required to understand the long-term effect on teeth staining and oral health when smokers switch to using PRRPs."
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