Tobacco heating products
Innovating to lead the transformation of tobacco use
Our commitment to offering adult smokers a choice of reduced-risk products*† is reflected in the progress we are making in tobacco heating products.
What are tobacco heating products?
Tobacco Heating Products (THPs) are devices that heat tobacco to generate an aerosol. Our flagship THP brand, glo, comprises an electronic handheld device that contains a lithium-ion battery which powers a heating chamber. A specially designed rod containing homogenised tobacco, called a Neostik, is then inserted into the device.
The Scientific Evidence
By heating tobacco rather than burning, THPs offer a reduced-risk*† alternative compared to smoking for those who switch completely. To date, most THP research has been conducted by industry scientists, but an increasing number of independent reports are broadly aligned with these findings and support the role of THPs as a less risky*† alternative to smoking. For example, a study commissioned by the UK Department of Health in 2017 found that people using THPs were exposed to around 50–90% less of the “harmful and potentially harmful” compounds compared with conventional cigarettes1. And, in 2018, Office for Health Improvement & Disparities (formerly known as Public Health England), while highlighting the need for more research, found that “compared with cigarettes, heated tobacco products are likely to expose users and bystanders to lower levels of particulate matter, and harmful and potentially harmful compounds”2. Our commitment to reducing the health impact of our business is helping to deliver ground-breaking scientific advances and supports consumer choice. The results of 329 tests and studies we have conducted have generated evidence that supports our belief that glo is a reduced-risk product compared to continuing to smoke cigarettes*† . While glo is not risk-free and nicotine is addictive, the aerosol contains considerably fewer and lower levels of certain toxic substances compared to cigarette smoke, and has a significantly reduced impact in various toxicology tests3. As more long-term data is needed to support the category, we undertook a year-long clinical study to evaluate the reduced-risk potential of glo. The six-month results were published in a peer-reviewed journal in 20214. The data from the study provides the first real-world evidence that people switching from cigarettes to exclusive use of glo can significantly reduce their exposure to certain toxicants and indicators of potential harm related to several smoking-related diseases, compared with continuing to smoke.
Designed with purpose
Our new glo pro, Hyper, and Hyper+ models feature induction heating, enabling devices to reach their operating temperatures of around 240-2800C faster. This makes them more efficient and enjoyable for consumers to use. The system also requires fewer components susceptible to temperature degradation, enabling the use of a wider range of temperatures, which are still substantially lower than temperatures needed for combustion. This helps to unlock a broader range of sensory experiences. This more powerful heating system produces a much faster and more precise device, offering consumers more flexibility, while still tightly controlling temperature and avoiding combustion.
Growing reach and availability
Today, our glo products are available in 25 markets. Driven by the innovative glo Hyper model in Japan and across our Europe and North Africa (ENA) region, total consumable volume grew 79% to 19.1 billion sticks in 2021. Revenue increased 34.5% to £853 million (2020: down 12.9% to £634 million) largely driven by the higher volume, with growth increasing sequentially between the first and second half of 2021.
* Based on the weight of evidence and assuming a complete switch from cigarette smoking. These products are not risk free and are addictive.
† Our products as sold in the US, including Vuse, Velo, Grizzly, Kodiak, and Camel Snus, are subject to FDA regulation and no reduced-risk claims will be made as to these products without agency clearance.
1 Committees on Toxicity, Carcinogenicity and Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, CONSUMER Products and the Environment (COT, COC and COM). Statement on the toxicological evaluation of novel heat-not-burn tobacco products. December, 2017. heat_not_burn_tobacco_ statement.pdf (food.gov.uk).
2 McNeill A, Brose LS, Calder R, Bauld L, Robson D. (2018). Evidence review of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. A report commissioned by PHE. London: PHE. Vaping in England: evidence update February 2021 – GOV. UK (www.gov.uk).
3 Gale N, McEwan M, Eldridge AC, et al. (2019). Changes in biomarkers of exposure on switching from a conventional cigarette to tobacco heating product: a randomised, controlled study in healthy Japanese subjects. Nicotine Tob Res 2019; 21: 1220-1227. https://doi.org/10.1093/ntr/nty104.
4 Gale, N., McEwan, M., Camacho, O.M. et al. (2021). Changes in biomarkers after 180 days of tobacco heating product use: a randomised trial. Intern Emerg Med (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11739-021-02798-6