In vitro toxicological evaluation of glo menthol and non-menthol heated tobacco products

April 11, 2024

DOI: 10.1016/j.tox.2024.153801

Brian M. Keyser, Robert Leverette, Reagan McRae, John Wertman, Tom Shutsky, Kristen Jordan , Ken Szeliga , Patrudu Makena
RAI Services Company; Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, 401 North Main Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101, USA

Heated tobacco products (HTPs) are non-combustible, inhaled tobacco products that generate an aerosol with fewer and lower levels of toxicants, with a potential to reduce risk relative to cigarette smoking. Here, we assessed in vitro toxicological effects of three menthol (glo neo neoCLICK, neo Smooth Menthol and Fresh Menthol) and one non-menthol (neo Smooth Tobacco) variants of glo HTP, along with market comparators for cigarettes and HTPs. Limited chemical characterization of the study products revealed significantly lower levels of acetaldehyde, acrolein, crotanaldehyde and formaldehyde in test samples from HTPs than those from cigarettes. The glo HTPs were non-mutagenic in the bacterial reverse mutagenesis assay. Although, the whole aerosol exposures of glo HTPs were classified as genotoxic in the in vitro micronucleus assay, and cytotoxic in the NRU (monolayer) and MTT (3 dimensional EpiAirway™ tissues) assays, the cigarette comparators were the most toxic study products in each of these assessments. Further, glo HTPs elicited oxidative stress responses only at the highest dose tested, whereas the cigarette comparators were potent inducers of oxidative stress at substantially lower doses in the EpiAirway tissues. The comparator (non-glo) HTP results were similar to the glo HTPs in these assays. Thus, the glo HTPs exhibit substantially lower toxicity compared to cigarettes.

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