Given much of the harm caused by smoking is a result of the by-products of tobacco combustion it is possible that heat not burn products will be proved to be less harmful than smoked tobacco, given they do not possess this combustion element. At present however there is insufficient evidence to reach this conclusion. Almost all the research on heat not burn that currently exists has been undertaken by the tobacco industry. Because of the long record of tobacco industry manipulation and deceit over scientific and medical evidence the UK Government will need expert advice on the emerging evidence on heat not burn and other novel tobacco products.
Many within the public health community are calling on the UK Government to establish an independent expert committee to examine not just the toxicity of heat not burn devices relative to conventional tobacco cigarettes, but also the broader health and related social impacts of heat not burn products. For instance, do they act as a gateway to tobacco smoking among non–smokers?; and/or do they renormalise smoking as an activity? Further independent research is required to provide answers to these questions.