Companies involved in the nicotine industry are innovating to develop smoke-free products that significantly reduce their impact on health and the environment, according to top executives and researchers.
Kevin Peng, an advanced technology scientist at ALD Group, predicted that smoke-free products would replace tobacco in five to 10 years. He made the prediction during the Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum (GTNF) held in Washington D.C. recently.
Scientific evidence from around the world affirmed that it is the burning of tobacco that produces the thousands of disease- and death-causing chemicals in the smoke, and not nicotine. Top health institutions in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Japan, China and New Zealand have affirmed over the years that smoke-free alternatives such as vapes and HTPs are less harmful than burned cigarettes.
“In this scenario, reducing the environment impact of e-cigarettes is extremely important,” said Peng as he underscored the need to develop eco-friendly products to reduce carbon emission and cut the waste of raw materials
“Let us work together to make the products greener for a more sustainable future,” he said.
Peng is one of the industry leaders, regulatory experts and “imagineers” who are driving innovation in the tobacco and nicotine sectors and who participated in the discussion during the GTNF to bring a unique breadth and depth of perspective.
“To get people to embrace harm reduction, you really have to present them with a product that is better than cigarettes,” Mark Kehaya, chairman of vaping products manufacturer AMV Holdings LLC, said in a panel discussion.
“When we hear there are still 30 million people still smoking in the United States, clearly as an industry, we still have ways to go from a product standpoint, from innovation standpoint,” said Kehaya who moderated the Innovating for Tomorrow Panel.
Kehaya, a former chairman of GTNF, said players in the nicotine industry set their sights on improving nicotine delivery, taste and flavor as well as how consumers feel about themselves when using these products.
In the Philippines, PMFTC Inc., the local affiliate of Philip Morris international, has introduced its smoke-free alternatives IQOS and the more affordable BONDS by IQOS. These devices are specifically used with specially designed tobacco sticks called HEETS and BLENDS, respectively. These heated tobacco products do not burn tobacco and produce smoke, but generate smoke-free aerosol.
Participants in the GTNF, the world’s leading annual forum discussing the future of the tobacco and nicotine industries, agreed that the nicotine industry is innovating at a great pace, whether through scientific research, new product development or helping create a more sustainable world.
George Cassels-Smith, CEO of Tobacco Technology Inc., said the key is to continue to innovate and make consumers demand better regulation from authorities.
“It is a difficult time for the industry when they are trying to win people off combustible cigarettes to safer products. Being frozen in time is very awkward. Some of these government regulators are extended in time, but innovation must continue,” he said.
“Ultimately we have to find that superior product to what combustible cigarette is so that we can achieve market force to have customer choose cleaner alternative,” said Smith.
Lisa Smith, managing director of Btomorrow Ventures, said the transformation of the industry requires innovation.
Dr. Ming Deng of Yunnan University in China who conducted extensive studies on next-generation products, said there are large market opportunities for these innovative products.
“Market is huge and is yet to be developed. We should innovate a lot intensively for next-generation products,” he said. “I believe that we are in a new era.”
William Yu of ICCPP Group agreed that, “innovation shifts the future”.
“We need to bring legal-age users a pleasant experience for switch,” Yu said, adding that his company actively develops new products which are more portable, eco-friendly and with reduced harm.
Dr. Deng, however, said regulation should catch up with the fast-evolving technologies. “I believe that regulation and innovation go together like a horse and carriage. You cannot separate one from another,” he said.
Meisen Liu, a research and development director at Shenzhen Zinwi Bio-Tech Co. Ltd., said the company is now focusing on the latest trend on e-liquids development such as lower-temperature atomization, next-generation nicotine salts and enhanced compatibility of e-liquids and devices.
Zhiqiang Shi, chief scientist at Shenzhen SMOORE Technology Ltd., said the company invests 6 percent of its revenues in research and development to develop better products.