Remove the smoke, reduce the exposure to potentially harmful chemicals

Public health data highlights smoking as the leading cause of preventable deaths in the U.S. PMI is dedicated to changing this reality and is committed to help end smoking.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) published an ​​article in 2017 stating, “Nicotine, though not benign, is not directly responsible for the tobacco-caused cancer, lung disease, and heart disease that kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. The FDA’s approach to reducing the devastating toll of tobacco use must be rooted in this foundational understanding: Other chemical compounds in tobacco, and in the smoke created by combustion, are primarily to blame for such health harms.”

Eliminating combustion dramatically reduces the levels of harmful chemicals, which is the cornerstone of smoke-free product development. Smoke-free products are not risk-free and remain addictive, but can offer taste, ritual, sensation, and nicotine levels comparable to cigarettes for those adults who otherwise would continue to smoke.

The science behind smoke-free alternatives to end smoking in the U.S.


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Clearing up confusion around smoke-free products could create huge benefits for public health. The fact is, FDA-authorized, innovative smoke-free products do exist, and they have the power to drive real change toward accelerating an end to smoking.
Dr. Matthew R. Holman, VP, U.S. Scientific Engagement & Regulatory Strategy

Nicotine facts

While nicotine is addictive and not risk-free, its role in smoking-related diseases is often misunderstood, even in the medical community. A 2020 survey demonstrated that 80 percent of physicians wrongly believe that nicotine is the cause for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Here is what the nearly 30 million adult smokers in the United States—and their physicians—need to know about nicotine.

Nicotine can raise the heart rate and blood pressure and should not be used by people with certain health conditions such as pregnant women or those with heart disease or diabetes—but, again, it’s not the primary cause of smoking-related diseases. Smoking-related diseases are principally caused by the high levels of harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke.

Roberto & Josephine, Smoker and daughter, Miami, FL

Choice and the need for a range of alternatives

The best choice is to quit or never to begin using tobacco or nicotine products, and every year, many people successfully do quit. But, for those adults who continue smoking, there is another option–scientifically substantiated smoke-free alternatives are a measurably better choice than continued smoking.

Recent decades have seen an innovative move from high-risk combustible products (such as cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco) to smoke-free alternatives (such as vapes, heated tobacco products, snus, and oral nicotine pouches), offering better alternatives to adults who otherwise would continue to smoke.

According to U.S. public health data, while more than half of adult smokers report having made a quit attempt in the past year, less than one in 10 succeed. Each smoker’s journey to a better alternative is unique.

Alea, smoker, Atlanta, GA

A wide range of smoke-free options offers an alternative path for adults who don’t quit, by empowering them to make a better choice than continuing to smoke.

Policy and action need to follow science’s lead

The FDA can help end smoking faster by prioritizing the regulatory review of smoke-free tobacco product applications that could be labeled as modified risk due to reduced exposure to toxicants or reduced risk of disease. But regulation isn’t the only thing within the power of the FDA. So, too, is public communication.

While the FDA advances public health by helping to speed innovations that make drugs, products, and devices safer, they also have a responsibility to share accurate and science-based information so people can choose to make better decisions for their health.

Since smoke-free alternatives exist, the FDA can and should do more to make this information readily available. Smoke-free products do not burn tobacco and while not risk-free, can significantly reduce the levels of toxicants produced compared to cigarettes. Adults who smoke deserve to know how alternative products differ from cigarettes.

Learn more about going smoke-free from Dr. Matt Holman

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