Burning is the problem, not Nicotine

Nicotine itself is not especially hazardous – the problem stems from burning tobacco

Many people assume that it’s the nicotine that makes cigarette smoking harmful. In fact, other chemicals in smoke are the primary causes or potential causes of smoking-related diseases. Although addictive and not risk-free the data has shown that switching to smoke-free alternatives can significantly reduce the formation of the harmful chemicals caused by combustion or burning of a cigarette.

When a cigarette is lit, it burns at a temperature above 600°C and produces thousands of harmful chemicals, of which about 100 have been identified as causes or potential causes of smoking-related diseases.

Tobacco Advisory Group of the Royal College of Physicians report titled – Nicotine without smoketobacco harm reduction, stated that, ‘If nicotine could be provided in a form that is acceptable and effective as a cigarette substitute, millions of lives could be saved.”

For the last decade Philip Morris International (PMI) has invested billions of dollars into the research and development of smoke-free products that are backed by science and which are a less harmful alternative to smoking cigarettes for adult smokers who continue to use tobacco.

“While not starting or quitting is the best option, millions of smokers choose not to,” says Zimbini Peffer, Head of Digital & Marketing at Philip Morris South Africa. “With over 1 billion smokers in the world today and 11 million in South Africa – science can help smokers switch to better alternatives.”

“IQOS features an electronic holder that heats tobacco to a temperature of up to 350°C, without burning it and therefore has no fire, ash, or smoke,” she explains. “What this means is that the levels of harmful chemicals in the nicotine-containing aerosol are significantly reduced compared to conventional cigarette smoke while delivering as much as possible the taste, nicotine delivery, and ritual characteristics of conventional cigarettes (IQOS emits on average 95% less harmful chemicals compared to the smoke of a reference cigarette. This does not necessarily equal a 95% reduction in risk. IQOS is not risk-free).”

“There are more than 16 million IQOS users globally, of which 72% (approximately 11.6 million) have stopped smoking and switched to IQOS completely.”

“As a company our vision of a smoke-free future is ambitious, our goal is that by 2025 at least 40 million PMI cigarette smokers, who would otherwise continue to smoke, will have switched to smoke-free alternatives, she concludes.”


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This website contains information about our smoke-free products and we need your age to make sure that you are an adult in South Africa who would otherwise continue to smoke or use nicotine products. Our nicotine and tobacco products are not an alternative to quitting and are not designed as cessation aids. They are not risk free. They contain nicotine, which is addictive. Only for use by adults. Please visit the Important Information page of this website for further risk information