Tobacco Harm Reduction Network (Thailand)

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BAT Study: HTP Switch Benefits Similar to Quitting Smoking

A heat-not-burn tobacco product technology.Man holding in one hand smoking module before smoking.

New research published in July in the journal Internal and Emergency Medicine provides the first real-world evidence that people switching from cigarettes to exclusive use of glo, BAT’s flagship tobacco heating product (THP), can significantly reduce their exposure to certain toxicants and indicators of potential harm related to several smoking-related diseases compared with continuing to smoke.  The results, recorded at 6-months of a 12-month study, showed that switching completely to glo resulted in statistically significant changes across a range of “biomarkers of exposure” (BoE)**, and indicators of potential harm, known as “biomarkers of potential harm” (BoPH)**, compared with continuing to smoke.

According to the study, “for most biomarkers measured, the reductions seen in people using glo were similar to those in participants who stopped smoking completely.” Based on the toxicants measured, glo users showed a: significant reduction in a biomarker for lung cancer risk; significant reduction in white blood cell count, an inflammatory marker indicative of cardiovascular disease risk (CVD) and other smoking-related diseases; improvement in HDL cholesterol associated with reduced risk of CVD; improvements in two key indicators of lung health;  and improvement in a key indicator of oxidative stress, a process implicated in several smoking-related diseases, such as CVD and hypertension.

“These are exciting results as they allow us to understand the potential for reduction of risk that switching completely to glo can deliver,” said Dr.  David O’Reilly, BAT’s director of scientific research. “The study shows that smokers switching to glo can reduce their exposure to certain toxicants, which reduces their risk of developing certain smoking related diseases. The press release notes that this is based on the weight of evidence and assuming a complete switch from cigarette smoking, adding that these products are not risk free and are addictive.

Participants in this year-long randomized controlled study were UK-based smokers aged 23-55 in good general health who either did or did not want to quit. The smokers who did not intend to quit were randomized to either continue smoking cigarettes or switched to using only glo, while smokers who indicated they wanted to quit smoking received 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.

This study was designed to explore the risk reduction potential of glo when used in a real world setting rather than in a controlled setting.  The only intervention was a monthly clinic visit where samples of blood, urine, and other measurements were taken. These samples were tested for “biomarkers of exposure” (to selected cigarette smoke toxicants) and “biomarkers of potential harm”.  In addition, to ensure compliance, the glo and cessation groups were tested for the biomarker, CEVal, which indicated if they had recently smoked cigarettes.

Further results from the completed study are due by the end of 2021 and will determine whether the reduced exposure to toxicants and biomarkers of potential harm are maintained over the duration of the study.

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