The Government has committed Public Health England (PHE) to annually reviewing the evidence on e-cigarettes and novel tobacco products, such as heated tobacco products, until the end of Parliament in 2022. PHE’s current review was published in February 2018. The review looked at the latest available evidence on heated tobacco products and, based on that evidence, concluded that these products were less harmful than cigarettes, but more harmful than e-cigarettes. This is in agreement with the Committee on Toxicity (CoT), who concluded in December 2017 that there is a likely reduction in risk for smokers switching to heated tobacco products.
Both PHE and CoT identified shortcomings in the current evidence base: there are no long term studies as these products are relatively new, and a majority of the research is carried out by the tobacco industry. The Department will review and consider where there are gaps in evidence for further independent research, and continues to collaborate and share knowledge both in the United Kingdom and internationally to help develop the research base and understanding of these products. The UK Government is also represented on the Global Tobacco Regulators' Forum, which brings together a number of countries, as well as the European Union and World Health Organization, to discuss regulatory issues of common interest, including research into heated tobacco products.