Exclusive interview with Altria ahead of Dr Willie McKinney's presentation at the inaugural ENDS

Ahead of Dr Willie McKinney's presentation at Smithers Rapra's ENDS conference next week, we spoke to Altria to discuss potential harm reduction for e-cigarettes. Dr McKinney is the Vice President of Regulatory Science at Altria Client Services. 

Altria will be presenting on ‘science and evidence to demonstrate potential harm reduction for electronic cigarettes’, could you provide a little more information as to what this will cover?

Dr. McKinney will discuss the general published FDA requirements for scientific substantiation of a Modified Risk Tobacco Product, how this standard of science and evidence relates to e-vapor products generally, and present some illustrative non-proprietary scientific data.

You mention in your abstract a framework for scientifically demonstrating harm reduction, could you give a brief overview as to what this framework covers?

Science and evidence are the foundation for developing potentially reduced-harm products. As regulated companies, we're required by law to demonstrate to the FDA that a product is less harmful to individual consumers as well as to the population as a whole before making any reduced-risk statements.​ To support this effort, we established a rigorous scientific framework based on FDA's guidance to evaluate potentially reduced-harm tobacco products. This framework helps us generate important data, like clinical research, perception and behavior studies to support reduced risk product applications by​:​

  • measuring harmful and potentially harmful compounds;​
  • evaluating the product's health effects;
  • researching how adult tobacco consumers use the product and their understanding of its risk; and
  • substantiating that the product is unlikely to appeal to unintended audiences.​

Why is it important to share findings with the ENDS community and what can they hope to learn from this data?

There is growing evidence that e-vapor products may be less risky than traditional combustible cigarettes for smokers who switch entirely from cigarettes to e-vapor. Unlike traditional cigarettes, which involve burning tobacco and inhaling smoke, e-vapor products create an aerosol from a nicotine solution that is heated. This difference has led many in public health to note the reduced-risk potential for individual consumers.  Through our presentation to the ENDS Conference we aim to stimulate discussion among attending scientists and regulatory professionals about  the potential impact of various regulatory approaches on harm reduction.

What are you most looking forward to at the inaugural ENDS 2017 conference?

Sharing our research and collaborating with the scientific community.


Dr McKinney will be presenting as part of the 'Testing Standards, Methods and Potential Harm Reduction' session alongisde representatives from Eos Scientific, Coresta and British American Tobacco,

This session will also include a panel discussion on 'Tobacco harm reduction and negativity towards e-cigarettes' with panellists including the UKVIA, Nicopure Labs, BAT, Hall Analytical and Eos Leisure

You can book your ticket here.