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Healthier cigarettes for heated tobacco products (HTPs)

Country of Origin: Spain
Reference Number: TOES20200908001
Publication Date: 8 September 2020


A Spanish university has developed a cigarette to be smoked in heated tobacco products that emits less toxic products for the smoker. Thanks to the presence of a catalysts, it allows a selective reduction of nicotine and it maintains the pleasant sensation of the conventional smoking process.
Companies in the tobacco, tobacco filters or catalysts sectors interested in acquiring this technology for commercial exploitation through license agreements are sought.


Tobacco consumption has very important socio-economic implications. On the one hand, it represents an important business for tobacco companies and it is an activity that generates a lot of jobs in the agricultural and industrial sectors. 

On the other hand, the toxicity of tobacco smoke is directly related to many diseases, and its treatment represents a significant expense for public health system.

In the recent years, heated tobacco products (HTPs) are becoming increasingly important. These are devices that contain tobacco and produce nicotine sprays. HTPs allow imitation of the conventional cigarette smoking habit, however, unlike these, in HTPs, tobacco is heated to a temperature between 250-350ºC without producing combustion, providing the smoker the possibility of enjoying tobacco without the need to burn significant amounts of it.

However, there is still a need to obtain cigarettes to be smoked in HTPs that emit less toxic products, while maintaining the pleasant sensation produced by conventional cigarettes.

In this sense, a Spanish research group have developed cigarettes to be smoked in HTPs containing specific catalysts which make it possible to selectively reduce the emission of toxic tobacco products.

The key of this is new cigarette is the presence of at least, one catalyst -mix of them-, selected among:

• Mesoporous silicates (aluminosilicates): Type MCM-41 or Type SBA-15.
• Zeolitic materials: ZSM-5, USY or H beta.

Additionally, the new cigarette is composed of:

• any type of tobacco (conventional, reconstituted, expanded, rolling, pipe, any mixture of them, etc.);
• a cellulose acetate filter, with at least, one membrane of impermeable material. It may also contain an additional membrane consisting of an adsorbent material; and,
• other additives (aromaticizers, flavourings, nicotine, etc.)

The catalysts may be mixed with the tobacco and/or in the adsorbent material of the additional filter membrane.

According to experiments carried out with a group of volunteer smokers, these new cigarettes maintain the sensations of pleasure produced by conventional products.

These new cigarettes could be useful for companies from the tobacco, tobacco filters or catalyst sectors. Companies from this or other sectors interested in the commercial exploitation of this technology through licensing agreements are sought. The potential partner should be responsible for the development of the commercial prototype, the validation of the technology, its installation and its introduction into the market. The university will be ready to provide technical assistance in each step, if required.

Advantages and Innovations

This is the first time that catalysts have been incorporated in HTPs, which means exposing tobacco to temperatures (250-350ºC) without producing combustion, well below than temperatures usually reached during the process of smoking conventional tobacco (800-900ºC).

The new cigarettes to be smoked in HTPs has the following three main advantages:

• Adverse effects of tobacco are reduced. The reduction of toxic compounds can be regulated and made selective respect to nicotine. So, the new cigarettes emit less toxic products for the smoker.
• Selective reduction of nicotine. In all the materials tested, more than 70% in total reductions for nicotine, glycerine and nicotirin were achieved.
• Pleasant sensations produced by conventional products are maintained. The sensations in the smoking process are completely similar to those produced by the original tobacco, appreciating a softer flavor, probably due to the reduction in the emission of toxic products.

Therefore, the new HTPs provide smokers the benefits and advantages of conventional tobacco, while considerably reducing the emission of toxic products.

Stage Of Development

Prototype available for demonstration

Requested partner

- Type of partner sought: Companies
- Specific area of activity of the partner: Tobacco; Tobacco filters manufacturers; Catalyst manufacturers.
- Task to be performed: to buy a license for the technology, to make the technology validation in real scenarios and to introduce it into the market. Although some tests have been performed by smoker volunteers, a large-scale validation is required.

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