News Release

Vapor from novel tobacco hybrid device minimally impacts human cells

Biological testing using aerosols from several tobacco heating products found them to have little or no impact on human cells in the lab

Peer-Reviewed Publication

R&D at British American Tobacco

New laboratory data reveal that vapour from a novel hybrid tobacco heating product (THP) iFuse and two standard THPs produced little or no effect on human cells in biological testing.

'Our results suggest that these standard THPs and our novel hybrid product have the potential to reduce smoking-related disease risks when compared with cigarette smoking,' says Dr James Murphy, Head of Reduced Risk Substantiation at British American Tobacco. 'However, further pre-clinical and clinical research is required to substantiate conclusive risk reduction of these products.'

A series of lab-based biological studies were used to assess and compare the toxicological and biological effects of exposure to vapour from the hybrid iFuse, two different standard THPs, and smoke from a 3R4F reference cigarette. The tests looked at the general health of the cells, mutations and damage to DNA, tumour promotion, oxidative stress and wound repair, all of which are involved in development of many smoking-related diseases.

Results show that cigarette smoke tested positive on all counts, whereas the hybrid and standard THPs did not cause mutations or damage to DNA, and showed considerably reduced responses in the other tests. Overall, the novel hybrid tobacco heating product had the least effect, showing little to no biological activity in any of the assays in which it was tested.

The results are published today in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology (DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.05.023).

The hybrid device, iFuse, combines the workings of an e-cigarette with a pod containing tobacco. An e-liquid is heated to produce an aerosol that passes through the tobacco pod. The aerosol cools from around 35ºC to 32ºC as it passes over the tobacco, heating up the pod sufficiently to extract flavour without any direct heating of the tobacco.

This device operates at a very different temperature to standard THPs: THPs generally heat tobacco to between 240 OC and 350OC, whereas the hybrid product heats tobacco to around 34°C.

These temperatures are not high enough to burn the tobacco and the resulting vapours contain far fewer and lower levels of toxicants than cigarette smoke, which can reach temperatures of over 900°C during puffing. The vapour produced by iFuse is similar to that produced by Vype ePen.

Vype ePen has also been shown to have significantly reduced levels of toxicants in the vapour and current expert estimates is that using e-cigarettes is around 95% safer than smoking cigarettes.

Many in the public health community believe e-cigarettes offer great potential for reducing the projected public health impact of smoking. Public Health England, an executive body of the UK Department of Health, published a report saying that the current expert estimate is that using e-cigarettes is around 95% safer than smoking cigarettes.


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