Public Release: 

Side stream emissions from 'heated tobacco' products similar to secondhand cigarette smoke

'Heated Tobacco' products generate side stream emissions: Implications for regulation

Imperial Tobacco

London, 19th October 2015 - A new study published in the Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry today found that, despite claims made by some manufacturers, next generation 'heated' tobacco devices produce side-stream emissions similar to secondhand cigarette smoke.

The study, conducted by Imperial Tobacco, owner of market leading e-cigarette brand blu, tested a commercially available heated tobacco product called iQOS to assess whether the product generated side stream chemical emissions when activated.

"A number of tobacco manufacturers are promoting products where the tobacco is reportedly 'heated' rather than burned. It has been claimed these products don't produce side stream emissions," explained Dr. Steve Stotesbury, Head of Scientific Regulatory Engagement, Imperial Tobacco. "However, our findings suggest those claims are wrong and that actually, when activated, heated tobacco products release a large number of different chemical compounds into the surrounding airspace. Further research on heated tobacco products is clearly needed"

Heated tobacco devices are sometimes confused with e-cigarettes. However, unlike e-cigarettes, heated tobacco products actually contain blended or processed tobacco just like conventional cigarettes. Heated tobacco products are claimed to work by heating cigarettes at a lower temperature to vapourise nicotine and flavourings which are then inhaled.

"By way of comparison, we also investigated side stream emissions from a Nicorette inhalator and an e-cigarette," said Stotesbury. "The findings highlight the fundamental differences between tobacco and non-tobacco products. While e-cigarettes and pharmaceutical nicotine inhalators share very similar chemical characteristics, the heated tobacco product emissions suggest these devices should fall under the same regulation as regular cigarettes when it comes to indoor use and smoke-free legislation."



"A number of tobacco manufacturers are promoting products where the tobacco is reportedly "heated" rather than burned. It has been claimed that certain heated tobacco products produce only mainstream and no side-stream emissions. In this study we investigated these claims for a commercially available heated tobacco product and, by using a simple experimental design, investigated whether the high temperature heating of the tobacco matrix during product activation and use results in the generation of side-stream emissions. By way of comparison, the Nicorette® inhalator and a leading e-cigarette brand were also investigated. Our findings indicated that a large number of different chemical compounds were released into the airspace around the heated tobacco product during consumer use indicating the generation of side-stream emissions. As the public health community has concluded there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco-containing product emissions, this would be of concern and warrants further investigation. Based on our data showing side-stream emissions from the tobacco matrix, the use of heated tobacco products in indoor public places should fall under the same regulations as cigarettes"

Research Paper

To read the full paper please visit:

About Imperial Tobacco

Imperial Tobacco Group PLC is a multi-national tobacco company, with international strength in cigarettes and world leadership in fine cut tobacco, premium cigars, rolling papers and tubes. The Group has 44 manufacturing sites and around 35,000 employees and operates in over 160 markets

Imperial Tobacco, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Fontem Ventures, markets a range of e-cigarette products, including blu eCigs, a leading e-cigarette brand in the United States and the United Kingdom.

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