Levels of selected analytes in the emissions of "heat not burn" tobacco products that are relevant to assess human health risks

Arch Toxicol. 2018 Jun;92(6):2145-2149. doi: 10.1007/s00204-018-2215-y. Epub 2018 May 5.


Consumers of combustible cigarettes are exposed to many different toxicologically relevant substances associated with negative health effects. Newly developed "heat not burn" (HNB) devices are able to contain lower levels of Harmful and Potentially Harmful Constituents (HPHCs) in their emissions compared to tobacco cigarettes. However, to develop toxicological risk assessment strategies, further independent and standardized investigations addressing HPHC reduction need to be done. Therefore, we generated emissions of a commercially available HNB product following the Health Canada Intense smoking regimen and analyzed total particulate matter (TPM), nicotine, water, aldehydes, and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are major contributors to health risk. We show that nicotine yield is comparable to typical combustible cigarettes, and observe substantially reduced levels of aldehydes (approximately 80-95%) and VOCs (approximately 97-99%). Emissions of TPM and nicotine were found to be inconsistent during the smoking procedure. Our study confirms that levels of major carcinogens are markedly reduced in the emissions of the analyzed HNB product in relation to the conventional tobacco cigarettes and that monitoring these emissions using standardized machine smoking procedures generates reliable and reproducible data which provide a useful basis to assess exposure and human health risks.

Keywords: Carcinogens; Heat not burn; Nicotine; Non-cigarette tobacco products; Smoke chemistry.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Canada
  • Hot Temperature
  • Nicotine / adverse effects*
  • Nicotine / analysis
  • Particulate Matter / adverse effects*
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Smoke / adverse effects*
  • Smoke / analysis
  • Tobacco Products*
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / adverse effects*
  • Volatile Organic Compounds / analysis


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter
  • Smoke
  • Volatile Organic Compounds
  • Nicotine