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Heat-Not-Burn Tobacco System Releases Toxic Chemical

Charring of tobacco plug and release of formaldehyde cyanohydrin identified as health concerns

WEDNESDAY, March 14, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Use of the I quit original smoking (iQOS) heat-not-burn system chars the tobacco plug, and the device releases a toxic chemical, according to a study published online March 13 in Tobacco Control.

Barbara Davis, from the University of California in Riverside, and colleagues evaluated performance of the iQOS heat-not-burn system to assess the validity of the manufacturer’s claims that this device does not burn tobacco and to determine whether the polymer-film filter is potentially harmful.

The researchers found that changes in testing protocols did not affect aerosol density. In the tobacco plug, charring due to pyrolysis was seen after use. Charring of the tobacco plug and melting of the polymer-film filter increased when the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions were followed. Analysis of the polymer-film filter showed release of formaldehyde cyanohydrin at 90 degrees Celsius, which is well below the maximum temperature reached during normal usage.

“This study has shown that the iQOS system may not be as harm-free as claimed and also emphasizes the urgent need for further safety testing as the popularity and user base of this product is growing rapidly,” the authors write.

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