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Hope or Hazard?: What Research Tells Us About "Potentially Reduced-Exposure" Tobacco Products

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Tobacco companies now offer potentially reduced-exposure tobacco products, or PREPs, in certain areas of the United States. At least nine PREPs are currently marketed in certain areas of the United States. This report compiles current research on their risks.

PREPs include:

* cigarette-like devices that heat tobacco at a low temperature rather than burning it
* products that contain chemical additives, genetically modified tobacco or tobacco that has undergone a special curing process to purportedly reduce toxins
* and smokeless tobacco products, such as snuff or chewing tobacco.

This report focuses mainly on the first two categories. The authors find no evidence to support the claim that the use of PREPs actually reduces risk for human disease. They note that the machine-derived methods used to assess toxin exposure can underestimate exposures, compared with actual human use of tobacco products. Independent scientific research on PREPs, and more generally on the health effects of specific levels of toxin exposure, is limited. The report calls for U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulation of tobacco products to provide a scientific evidence base as well as pre- and postmarket surveillance.