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Smokeless Tobacco

BAT to expand ‘glo’ smokeless tobacco sales in Japan from July

British American Tobacco (BAT) will expand sales of its “glo” tobacco-heating device to Tokyo and Osaka from July and roll it out nationwide by year-end, intensifying a battle with Philip Morris International for a share of Japan’s vaping market.

Big tobacco firms are investing in alternative products as more people give up traditional cigarettes amid health concerns.

Japan has emerged as a popular testing ground, mainly for “heat not burn” tobacco devices, given e-cigarettes using nicotine-laced liquid are not permitted under the country’s regulations.

In fact, both glo and Philip Morris’ vaping device “iQOS” were launched in Japan and have limited sales outside.

Glo has been on sale in the northeastern city of Sendai since December and iQOS was rolled out across the country in April 2016. According to their manufacturers, the products have been so popular in Japan that supply has fallen short.

BAT, known for Kent and Lucky Strike cigarettes, will start selling glo in the western Japanese city of Osaka, Miyagi in the country’s northeast and Tokyo from July 3, its Japan president Roberta Palazzetti said.

“Our ambition is to be a leader in next generation-products in Japan,” Palazzetti said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Glo, like iQOS, uses tobacco packed in replaceable sticks.

Instead of burning, the battery-powered devices heat the sticks to generate vapour, which their makers say emit less harmful chemicals than conventional cigarettes.

Marlboro-maker Philip Morris estimates that HeatSticks, used in iQOS, had already cornered a 10% share of the Japanese market as of April, up from 7.6% in January.

Apart from Japan, iQOS is available in at least 19 other markets. Glo went on sale in Switzerland and Canada earlier this year.

The latest version of iQOS is priced at 10,980 yen (US$99), while glo is priced at 8,000 yen. Japan Tobacco Inc’s vaping product “Ploom TECH”, which is set to be sold in Tokyo from June 29, costs 4,000 yen.

The former state monopoly, which commands 60% of Japan’s cigarette market, has been lagging in the new product category, but says it is aiming to grab the top share of the country’s vaping market in three years.

Japan Tobacco plans to spend 10 billion yen in marketing as it expands the sale of Ploom Tech to the rest of Japan in the first half of 2018, CEO Mitsuomi Koizumi told Reuters on Monday. – Reuters

Smokeless Tobacco: Research Putting Another Nail in That Coffin

By: Dr. William Sturrock

For years many have wondered whether using smokeless tobacco in forms such as dip, chew or E-cigs might somehow be safer because there are no combustion products that are being inhaled. While we already do know that oral, esophageal and GI cancers are more common in those who use smokeless tobacco, users have argued that these types of cancer are not as common, and may not be as life-threatening as diseases associated with smoking such as lung cancer and COPD. Lung cancer in particular remains the leading cause of cancer death for men and women in the US, so many with a nicotine habit have hoped to avoid this known risk of tobacco smoke to themselves, as well as the risks to others with second hand smoke. Unfortunately for smokeless tobacco advocates, we now have evidence of health risks that go beyond what was previously known.

Just this past month researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health published the results of their study done in Sweden, looking at the health of men using smokeless tobacco over a 21 year time-frame. They found was that compared to men that never used these products, smokeless tobacco users suffered a 24% higher chance of prostate cancer as well as a 19% higher of death from any cause. While the involvement of the prostate may be surprising to some, scientists have known for years that smokers of tobacco products can have higher rates of disease in non-respiratory organs compared to non-smokers. Cervical cancer, skin cancer and especially bladder cancer all occur more frequently among smokers.

Toxins from the tobacco combustion can be more concentrated in many different cell types as the body tries to metabolize and excrete these compounds. However this is the first time that a study on non-combusted tobacco had evidence of disease distant from the tissues that have direct contact with the smokeless product. So, if there was no exposure to the combustion products, what is the cause of these distant effects? Consumers of smokeless products do get regular exposure to nicotine, which is absorbed through the oral mucosa and transported by the blood stream to the rest of the body. Now researchers are more convinced that nicotine by itself can promote cancer transformation of many cell types. Already animal studies had suggested that nicotine puts oxidative stress onto cell DNA, and with this study we have the first evidence in humans that this is the likely mechanism for these distant ill effects.

Although it may ‘seem’ safer to use smokeless tobacco, Mother Nature has once more taught us that she cannot be fooled, and there is no such thing as a less dangerous consumption of this product. Unfortunately, children growing up in the US get mixed messages about smokeless tobacco when they see their role-models in many sports (especially baseball) using these products. It turns out that there has been a public health campaign to get baseball to kick the habit that has been gaining momentum.

Smokeless tobacco usage is now prohibited in the minor leagues, but only Boston, Chicago and the California teams have outlawed its use in the majors. Now, if we can just get the rest of the league to step up to the plate and ban smokeless tobacco in all of its forms from our national pastime, then that would be a real reason to cheer!

Philip Morris is ‘telling smokers to quit’ – as it brings out new smokeless tobacco sticks

In what might be one of the biggest U-turns in history, tobacco giant Philip Morris is looking towards a ‘smoke-free’ future, according to Bloomberg.

‘We can’t stop cold turkey,’ says CEO Andre Calantzopoulos – as he unveiled the company’s new ‘smokeless’ alternative to tobacco.

Forget vaping, though: the new product is a stick which heats tobacco, rather than burns it.

The new product – IQOS, pronounced ‘eye-koss’ – is 90% less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but has the flavour that e-cigarettes lack, Philip Morris says.

The iQOS is a tobacco stick that is heated just enough to produce an aerosol but not combust- and which looks like an e-cigarette machine.

The refills, sold as Marlboro Heatsticks cost the same as normal cigarettes, at least in Japan.

The product has already been a hit in Japan – and Philip Morris is now rolling it out to new markets.

The industry has been grappling with widespread anti-smoking campaigns which have forced companies like Philip Morris to diversify into nicotine replacements and e-cigarettes to meet consumer health concerns.

Companies such as Philip Morris are moving into ‘heat not burn’ technologies – which are expected to ‘accelerate’ rapidly, according to Owen Bennett, an equity analyst at Jefferies International.


Interview with Kamran Siddiqi, Senior Lecturer in Public Health, University of York