Let's Eliminate Tobacco from Japan, Part 18

September 1, 2018


Recently, when I advise patients to quit smoking, some respond with, "But I switched to e-cigarettes, so it's fine, right?"

So, I'd like to share my views on these so-called "new tobacco" products.


The "new tobacco" differs from traditional cigarettes (combustible tobacco) and includes two types: electronic cigarettes and heat-not-burn tobacco.

"Electronic cigarettes" are products that heat liquid to generate aerosol (solid or liquid particles suspended in gas).

The liquid may or may not contain nicotine, but without nicotine, it won't satisfy nicotine-dependent patients.

However, products containing liquid nicotine (a deadly poison!) are banned from sale under Japanese law.

Therefore, smokers in Japan cannot use "electronic cigarettes."

There are two types of "heat-not-burn tobacco" products: those that directly heat tobacco leaves to generate aerosol containing nicotine (such as "IQOS" and "Glo"), and those that pass aerosol through tobacco powder (such as "Ploom Tech").

What Japanese smokers refer to as "electronic cigarettes" are "heat-not-burn tobacco," to be exact.

Because it is necessary to satisfy nicotine-dependent patients, the amount of nicotine generated by heating must be equivalent to traditional combustible tobacco.

Philip Morris International, producing and selling "IQOS," insists that it aids in smoking cessation.

But, don't be deceived !

Satisfying nicotine-dependent patients and ensuring continued nicotine consumption are essential for company survival.

Harmful substances like carbon monoxide and tar (particulate matter in smoke) are produced when tobacco leaves combust.

These toxins are generated in relatively small amounts through heating.

However, heat-not-burn tobacco still produces significant amounts of harmful substances such as heavy metals like nickel and chromium, radioactive elements like polonium, carcinogens like nitrosamines and benzopyrene, and numerous other toxic substances like propylene glycol, formaldehyde, acrolein, and acenaphthene, comparable to traditional tobacco.

British American Tobacco (BAT), producing and selling "Glo," vehemently argues that "harm reduction" is their company policy.

But would you drink a poison while being told, "Most of the poison remains the same, but some has been reduced"?

So, BAT's "harm reduction" is deceptive.

Smokers who buy heat-not-burn tobacco, misled by slogans like "less harmful," already recognize the dangers of tobacco.

They might as well be standing at the entrance to smoking cessation.

If you're smoking heat-not-burn tobacco, visit our smoking cessation clinic now.


Since heat-not-burn tobacco doesn't burn tobacco leaves, secondary smoke is hardly produced.

However, one-third of the air inhaled by a person is directly exhaled because respiration involves dead space areas like the oral and nasal cavities and the trachea where gas exchange doesn't occur.

Therefore, over 30% of the aerosol and PM2.5 particles inhaled from heat-not-burn tobacco are dispersed around the smoker.

Japan Tobacco Inc. (JT) advertises that heat-not-burn tobacco has no impact on air quality, but that's a big lie.

With the Tokyo Olympics approaching, preventing passive smoking is urgent.

Some restaurants and bars advertise "non-smoking indoors" but allow heat-not-burn tobacco.

These business owners believe the lies of tobacco companies and are terribly misled.

In a previous issue, I argued for the enactment of a "Passive Smoking Prevention Law." Currently, Japanese government's discussions on passive smoking prevention measures don't include new tobacco products.

Government policies are falling behind the strategies of profit-driven tobacco companies.

A "Tobacco Abolition Law," including new tobacco, must be realized.

We must eliminate all tobacco, traditional and new, from Japan.


   This concludes the 18-part series on tobacco eradication.