Another alternative product to conventional smoking has begun to emerge, with some young adults in a recent survey expressing familiarity with devices that heat tobacco to produce an inhaled aerosol containing nicotine.
A RAND Corporation study published online in Nicotine & Tobacco Research found that among a group of around 2,500 young adults, about 12% were aware of heated tobacco devices and 5% had reported trying them. These products heat tobacco, unlike vaping devices that heat a liquid that contains nicotine.
“Most people don't even know about these products, but they are what we will see promoted by the tobacco industry in the U.S. market over the next couple years,” said Michael S. Dunbar, a behavioral scientist at RAND and the study's lead author.
The study found that men and individuals who were not in college were more likely to report awareness and use of heated tobacco products. Overall, more than 40% of those reporting awareness or use of the devices also had used another tobacco product in the past month.
It is believed that use of these products could be safer than conventional smoking because they do not burn tobacco, but the health effects of these products remain largely unknown.
“Further work is needed to understand patterns and motivations for using heated tobacco products, including whether or not young people are actually using these products as a way to transition entirely off of smoking cigarettes,” Dunbar said.