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CA study: ‘Smokeless’ tobacco is just as bad as cigarettes

‘Smokeless’ tobacco devices are just as bad for the heart as cigarettes, new research reveals.

After exposing mice to 10 five-second exposures of such devices’ vapor, their blood vessel function decreased by 60 percent, which is highly similar to the 62 percent previously seen in humans, a study found.

Blood vessel function is determined by assessing their ability to widen in response to increased blood flow and is a measure of heart health.

The rats also had similar nicotine levels in their blood to humans after one cigarette, the research adds.

Such devices heat tobacco rather than burning it, which avoids the harmful smoke produced by conventional cigarettes.

Yet, unlike e-cigarettes, so-called heat-not-burn devices do contain some tobacco to impart a flavor that appeals to certain smokers.

‘Smokeless’ tobacco devices are just as bad for the heart as cigarettes as they reduce rats’ blood vessel function by up to 60% (pictured: IQOS cigarette by Philip Morris International)


Heat-not-burn e-cigarettes were originally created by tobacco giant Philip Morris International.

The pharma company is behind a smokeless device known as IQOS that is said to contain 90 per cent less toxins than conventional cigarettes.

Unlike e-cigarettes, the smokeless device contains mini tobacco sticks in the form of Marlboro HeatSticks or others as opposed to a nicotine-laced liquid.

These are then placed into the device before being heated, which experts say makes them much less harmful as they are not burning the tobacco.

Yet experts add the innovative devices will never be safer than e-cigarettes.

How the research was carried out 

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, exposed mice to heat-not-burn devices’ vapor.

They assessed whether the devices affect rats’ ability to widen their blood vessels in response to increased blood flow.

This is a measure of blood vessel health and is impaired after smoking traditional tobacco or marijuana.

‘Smokeless’ devices just as dangerous as cigarettes 

Results reveal after 10 15-second vapor exposures over five minutes, rats’ blood vessel function decreases by 58 percent.

Ten five-second exposures reduces vessel activity by 60 percent.

This is comparable to that of cigarette smoke, which reduces the function by 57 percent at 15-second exposures and 62 percent at five seconds.

The amount of nicotine in the rats’ blood is similar to that of humans’ after one conventional cigarette.

The findings were presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions congress in Anaheim, California.