Our Thoughts


Posted 20/06/2024 9:10am

Imperial Brands understands society’s concerns about the health risks of smoking, and as a responsible business we’re committed to making a meaningful contribution to the public health concept of tobacco harm reduction through our next generation products (NGP).

Our previous NGP research demonstrates the aerosols from our heated tobacco and vaping systems contain fewer and substantially lower levels of the harmful chemicals present in cigarette smoke.

We’ve previously modelled some of the basic steps of atherosclerosis using the scratch wound assay. (here and here). Now, a new in-vitro scientific study suggests our NGP also exhibit a marked reduction in the biological activity associated with atherosclerosis – a potential cause of heart disease – compared to cigarettes.

The research, peer-reviewed and published in the journal Frontiers in Toxicology, compared the in-vitro impact of our heated tobacco (PULZE & iD) and vape (blu) systems with cigarettes on human endothelial cells – which line the interior surface of the heart and coronary artery –  combined with circulating immune cells.

As part of our Alternatives to Animal Testing programme, our scientists worked with a cutting-edge in-vitro methodology called organ-on-a-chip. It effectively represents a cardiovascular model-on-a-chip, allowing researchers to focus on endpoints linked to atherosclerosis progression.

Our scientists exposed the human-derived cells to blu and PULZE & iD aerosol extracts, as well as a cigarette smoke sample, for an extended period. The results were as follows:

  • Cigarette smoke negatively affected the cells most significantly, even at four times lower concentrations than the heated tobacco and vape test products.
  • In contrast, both NGP had a lower impact on cells, resulting in a marked reduction in biological activity in the early events associated with atherosclerosis.

Fiona Chapman, Regulatory Scientific Strategy Manager and lead author, commented: “Smoking can be a cause of serious disease in smokers, including heart disease, so it’s exciting to see this latest research demonstrate how our NGP aerosols have reduced impact on immune and endothelial cells combined, in-vitro.”

Toxicology Senior Manager Matt Stevenson added: “We’re confident this innovative new method of cardiovascular modelling has significant in-vivo relevance without having to actually test on animals and are delighted to add OrganoPlate® to our Alternatives to Animal Testing programme.”

Head of Harm Reduction and Engagement Thomas Nahde concluded: “This latest research – which utilises Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century (TT21C) methodologies and avoids the need to test on animals – is relevant, ethical and provides valuable data for modelling the effects of using NGP compared to smoking cigarettes, focusing specifically on heart disease.

“The results clearly add to the increasing weight of evidence demonstrating the tobacco harm reduction potential of PULZE & iD and blu compared to continued cigarette smoking.”

Follow us on LinkedIn and read more about our intentions to help create potentially healthier futures for our consumers on our corporate website. You are free to share this content with credit to Imperial Brands under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-ND 4.0) license.


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