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What’s New in Modern Oral?

While vapour products are often the first category that spring to mind when thinking about Tobacco Harm Reduction and the role of alternative tobacco and nicotine products, Modern Oral (MO) Products are another convenient way for adult consumers to enjoy nicotine without smoke or tobacco. As MO products are a relatively new innovation, there is a growing need for, and interest in, data generated about these products to determine their reduced-risk*† potential compared to conventional cigarettes and traditional oral tobacco products.

gloved hands in a lab

As with any newer product or approach, it’s imperative to understand and establish the risk profile of the product relative to currently available products from the outset, through research and tests.

Results from two new published studies by BAT researchers have provided data to build on the weight of evidence and support the role of the MO category in Tobacco Harm Reduction.

The studies, which were conducted in a laboratory on human cells, showed BAT’s MO products cause significantly less damage to the cells than both combustible cigarettes or Swedish-style snus.1,2 Swedish-style snus is recognised as a reduced-risk product compared to cigarette smoking following more than 30 years of epidemiological data.

The studies, which were conducted in a laboratory on human cells, showed BAT’s MO products cause significantly less damage to the cells than both combustible cigarettes or Swedish-style snus.1,2

The first study, published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, showed that aqueous extracts from a range of BAT’s nicotine pouch products, formerly known as Lyft and now called Velo in the majority of countries, are less toxic to cells than those derived from cigarettes. This was demonstrated at all Velo nicotine concentrations tested.

two scientists in a lab

BAT scientists analysed a variety of Velo products, including different nicotine strengths and flavours, with a range of laboratory tests. Likely contributing to the lower toxicity as compared to cigarettes and snus is the fact that Velo is tobacco free and does not involve combustion.

a modern oral product

When testing snus, the cell viability, or the proportion of ‘live, healthy cells’ was reduced, while Velo had a smaller impact on cell viability. Combustible cigarettes resulted in up to 100% of cell death.

This supports the view that MO products are likely to be less risky* than both traditional cigarettes and Swedish-style snus for users who switch completely from these products to MO products with the characteristics of Velo.

20%
toxicity in aqueous extracts derived from all types of Velo studied, regardless of nicotine strength or flavour

In the second study published in Toxicology Reports, scientists found that aqueous extracts derived from all types of Velo studied, regardless of nicotine strength or flavour, “induced up to 10–20% toxicity, and therefore based on a 30% toxicity threshold, can be deemed non-cytotoxic in an acute exposure model”, even when tested in amounts that were much higher than a person would typically consume in a day.

two male scientists in a lab

When compared to the other modern oral products tested, there was a favourable statistical difference for Velo products, which indicates that the products are not equivalent in their toxicity and that there are subtle but significant differences in the products on the market. The reference snus product tested was considered to be significantly comparable to Velo in terms of toxicity.

Researchers assessed the toxicological impact on cells of 11 different Velo products, including different nicotine strengths (4−11 mg) and flavours.

11
different Velo products tested

At BAT, generating robust evidence is critical to our commitment to scientifically-substantiated reduced risk* tobacco and nicotine products. Because we define ourselves by the consumer preferences we meet, we apply the highest quality standards to our reduced risk* tobacco and nicotine products in order to help ensure they are satisfying for consumers as well as contributing to Tobacco Harm Reduction.

We are committed to building A Better TomorrowTM by reducing the health impact of our business through offering a greater choice of products for our consumers. Our multi-category strategy, which is key to accelerating our transformation, has always been about providing choice and meeting the evolving preferences of adult consumers.
Dr David O’Reilly
Director of Scientific Research at BAT

† Lyft is part of BAT’s MO product family and is now known as Velo in most of the markets it is sold in. The product contents remain unchanged. The product used in the first study was Lyft Berry Frost.

1. Bishop E et al (2020). An approach for the extract generation and toxicological assessment of tobacco-free ‘modern’ oral nicotine pouches. Food & Chemical Toxicology 145: 11713 doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2020.111713.

2. East N et al. (2021). A screening approach for the evaluation of tobacco-free ‘modern oral’ nicotine products using Real Time Cell Analysis. Toxicology Reports 8: 481-488. doi.org/10.1016/j.toxrep.2021.02.014.

* 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.