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Philip Morris predicts e-cigarettes to kill off traditional smokes

A BIG tobacco company says it sees a future without cigarettes as it pushes to overcome legislative hurdles to launch a smokeless cigarette in Australia.

The move by Philip Morris International to introduce its new product has so far been thwarted by the Federal Government, which refuses to follow the US, UK, Japan and parts of Europe in allowing the legal sale of e-cigarettes.

Health experts told the Herald Sun smokeless cigarettes were a good alternative to quitting smoking.

“For smokers who are unable to quit, switching to reduced-risk products is likely to substantially reduce their risk of smoking-related disease and death,” conjoint associate Professor Colin Mendelsohn said.

Australian Paul Riley, president of PMI in Japan, believes smokeless cigarettes such as the company’s iQOS product will one day sound the death knell for traditional cigarettes.

The device uses real tobacco, but instead of burning it to produce hazardous smoke and tar, it heats it to produce tobacco-flavoured vapour.

“Our goal in Japan is to switch every one of our users on to this product as quickly as possible,” Mr Riley said. “In the last 12 months it has moved quickly … it is a realistic vision.”

Prof Mendelsohn said although it was preferable for smokers to quit, he believed e-cigarettes were a first step.

“The first choice is always to give up all tobacco and nicotine completely if possible … iQOS heats tobacco to produce an aerosol without combustion, or smoke, and is a much safer alternative to smoking.”

Department of Health spokeswoman Kay McNiece said: “The Australian Government is taking a precautionary approach and is examining the policy and regulatory framework on e-cigarettes.”

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