WASHINGTON (Feb. 9, 2017) – “Heat not burn” (HNB) products, which heat tobacco rather than incinerating it at temperatures that cause many harmful chemicals to form, represent a potentially promising public-health tool to reduce the harm of cigarette smoking, according to a new policy study by Dr. Edward Anselm, a senior fellow of the R Street Institute.

“Heating tobacco at lower temperatures than combustible cigarettes allows nicotine to be delivered in ways that retain much of the ritual and experience of smoking,” writes Anselm. “Comprehensive scientific programs have demonstrated these products present significantly reduced risk when compared to traditional cigarettes. Collectively, they represent a new set of tools to reduce the harm of combustible tobacco.”

Although HNB products are largely available only in overseas markets, they could be attractive to users of traditional tobacco products who prefer them to currently available e-cigarettes, Anselm notes. He projects their ultimate success may be dictated by how the FDA chooses to regulate them.

“While it appears the research programs to support HNB products are well on their way toward meeting the requirements for new and modified risk products, it is not yet clear how stringently the FDA will interpret the guidelines,” Anselm writes.