Lung Foundation seeks help to counter Big Tobacco’s latest toxic product


By Michael Woodhead

20 Jan 2020

Lung Foundation Australia is seeking clinician support for its advocacy campaign against Big Tobacco’s bid to market another harmful product in Australia: heat-not-burn (HnB) tobacco.

Unlike e-cigarettes that use chemical liquids, HnB electronic devices contain tobacco leaf that is heated to generate a nicotine-containing vapour.

In late 2019, tobacco company Philip Morris International (PMI) made an application to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) seeking to list tobacco prepared and packed for heating as an exempt item under the Poisons Standard.

But the Lung Foundation is strongly urging the TGA to reject a proposal, which would allow  the novel tobacco products to be sold to people over 18 in Australia.

“These products are toxic and addictive; and will create lung disease in a new generation of Australians,” said CEO Mark Brooke in a statement released on 16 January.

Philip Morris claims that the HnB products would be a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes because they produce lower levels of toxic chemicals. It says HnB products would be a “better alternative for current Australian smokers who do not quit”.

But the Lung Foundation rejects these claims, saying there is no evidence that these products reduce the risk of tobacco-related illnesses.

“Evidence shows, however, that the introduction of HnB products would likely expand the tobacco market by attracting new users – young people in particular – and significantly reduce smoking cessation rates.”

“Lung Foundation Australia maintains our position that there are alternative, proven smoking cessation methods, such as best practice nicotine delivery systems and cessation programs, that do not expose the lungs to harmful elements. We are strongly recommending that the TGA adopt a protective and precautionary approach to HnB products.”

The Lung Foundation is seeking support for its submission to the TGA and also hopes to get feedback via a short online survey that will close on Monday 27 January 2020.

It is also encouraging healthcare professionals to make individual submissions to the TGA, and has produced examples and  guidance on how to make a submission before the deadline of 10 February 2020.

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