The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety of South Korea has recently announced that electronic cigarettes are not less harmful than non-electronic cigarettes. On June 18, Philip Morris came up with a clinical test result to refute the announcement.
In its clinical test based on its IQOS product, Philip Morris used eight indicators for comparison between the two types of cigarettes. The eight indicators are divided into four that are related to cardiovascular diseases, such as a leukocyte count and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, two related to every disease, and one related to respiratory diseases and the other related to cancers.
“In the test, the group of smokers who switched to the IQOS showed an improvement in each of the eight indicators,” the company explained, adding, “The test shows that switching from non-electronic cigarettes to the IQOS can reduce the harm of smoking and the risks of diseases.”
The company also mentioned that the ministry’s tar content comparison between the two types cannot have any meaning in analyzing the harmfulness of electronic cigarettes. Earlier, the ministry announced that electronic cigarettes are higher in tar content than non-electronic cigarettes. According to the announcement, the tar content of the IQOS is 9.3 mg and it is 9.1 mg for the KT&G lil, 4.8 mg for the BAT glo, and 0.1 mg to 8.0 mg for non-electronic cigarettes.
Philip Morris also claimed that the ministry’s tar content measurement method was wrong. “The steam from an electronic cigarette has a moisture content of over 80% and, as such, accurate moisture content measurement is very important,” said the company, adding, “This is because the amount of evaporation during measurement is larger in a product with a higher moisture content and the moisture evaporation amount is misrecognized as a tar amountin the event of wrong measurement.” The ministry said in response that its tar measurement was not problematic at all. “We used the same method as that previously used in Japan, China and Germany,” it stressed.
Philip Morris, in the meantime, submitted the clinical test result on June 8 to the U.S. FDA, which is considering designating the IQOS as a modified risk tobacco product.