Dr. David O’Reilly, BAT's Director of Scientific Research, shares his thoughts on the ground-breaking results from the gloTM clinical study and the importance of accelerating Tobacco Harm Reduction.
In a constantly evolving society, we are bombarded with information about our health and wellbeing, the impact of our everyday activities and the things we consume. We are taught from a very early age what’s ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, and that there are things that are good and bad for us. As we become adults, we start making our own choices about what we want to do and how we want to live our lives. Decisions based on an understanding of the risks, but also the desire to preserve our freedom of choice and do what is right for us as individuals.
It is this freedom of choice that supports Tobacco Harm Reduction as such an important and valuable public health policy. This policy recognises that choice matters to adults and seeks to find options that provide smokers with alternative products that can be satisfying while also having the potential to be less harmful than cigarettes.
Quite rightly, science and scientists are at the centre of this societal movement. Enabling current smokers to choose reduced-risk* products, as compared to cigarettes, that deliver the tobacco and / or nicotine experience they enjoy in a format that doesn’t involve combustion – the source of thousands of chemicals in cigarette smoke, many of which are associated with smoking- related diseases. But people are confused about whether these products are better alternatives to cigarettes.
The answer lies in the data. Not just our data, but data and scientific evidence from many sources that has been subject to stringent, independent scrutiny. Data that demonstrate that enjoying tobacco heating products can be less risky* than smoking cigarettes.
Clinical study of gloTM
A recently completed year-long study of our Tobacco Heating Product (THP) showed that when smokers swap their cigarettes for glo, there are significant improvements across a range of indicators of potential harm associated with smoking-related diseases such as lung disease, cancer and cardiovascular disease. For these potential health risk reductions to be realised, cigarettes and THPs can’t be combined, it has to be a complete switch.
glo was put under rigorous real-world scrutiny – as opposed to being consumed in a clinically-controlled situation. The data amassed by studying its effects in real people enabled us, as scientists, to understand, in more precise ways, how certain indicators of potential harm in adult smokers respond when they make a switch to our THP. We’ve always believed that a THP could significantly impact smokers’ health risks compared to smoking but only now do we have year-long data about glo that allows us to better understand how and to what degree, and if those responses are sustainable over time.
The smokers we studied were aged 23-55, in good health and some wanted to quit and others wanted to continue smoking cigarettes. Those who didn’t want to quit were randomised to either continue smoking cigarettes or switched to using only glo, while smokers who indicated they wanted to quit smoking were allowed to and offered nicotine replacement therapy and access to a cessation counsellor. A group of ‘never smokers’ was also included to act as a control group and continued not to use any tobacco or nicotine products.
The exciting results
The results identified improvements in several indicators of potential harm, which were significant and sustained over 12 months. In fact, those who took part in the study – the biggest and most important that BAT has ever carried out – showed improvements across all of the indicators.
These long-term data are supported by multiple other existing studies that bring significant weight to the argument that reduced-risk* products have the potential to be transformative. By enabling our consumers to choose a better alternative to cigarette smoking, we are demonstrating our commitment to reducing the health impact of our business.
But we’re not stopping now — we hope that future studies will provide further robust and compelling data.
Transformation in action
These results are important. It’s why we do what we do. To find new insights and inspire further innovation that can build confidence, belief and importantly a shift away from smoking. But encouraging smokers away from cigarettes requires alternatives that are not only proven to be less risky* to health than smoking but can also satisfy adult consumers’ preferences. There is no quick and easy solution – we need data to ensure that we get it right. That’s why we’ve dedicated years to generating insights and data into what consumers want and to bringing devices such as glo to the market.
The data from this ground-breaking study show that we’re getting it right. For our consumers, for the business and for society. In fact, the data show that for most of the biomarkers of potential harm that were measured, the improvements seen in people using glo were similar to those in participants who stopped smoking completely. While, these products contain nicotine, are addictive and are not risk-free, we believe that they are reduced risk* compared to cigarettes.
It’s what we mean by our purpose of building A Better Tomorrow™. Reduced-risk* products – products that are not cigarettes and do not involve combustion. Products that can transform smokers’ lives. By the end of 2030, we want 50 million consumers of our alternative products like glo because we want to make a positive change.
It’s through our commitment to science that we deliver cutting-edge products, but also generate evidence that allows governments and consumers alike to feel informed about the role and impact of these products. It is the reality of tobacco harm reduction and why it makes sense.
Discover more here.
*Based on the weight of evidence and assuming a complete switch from cigarette smoking. These products are not risk free and are addictive.
Our products as sold in the US, including Vuse, Velo, Grizzly, Kodiak, and Camel Snus, are subject to FDA regulation and no reduced-risk claims will be made as to these products without agency clearance.
NOTES TO EDITORS
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