The NOSMOKE Institute at Patras Science Park

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The NOSMOKE institute, also known as the Institute for a Smoke-Free Society, describes itself as an organisation “founded to promote the elimination of smoking. It operates as a research and innovation centre in the field of modified risk products (MRTPs)”.1

Background

The institute is a commercial endeavour of Konstantinos Poulas, Associate Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Patras,2 and the Philip Morris International-funded Foundation for a Smoke Free World (FSFW). It develops new vaping products and shares pro e-cigarette research from the tobacco industry.

NOSMOKE is based at Patras Science Park in Greece, which is itself a Public Limited Company owned by the Greek Ministry of Finance that acts as an “incubator” for “spin out” research commercialisation. Patras Science Park hosts several technology and innovation companies. Organisations at the park frequently collaborate with multinational companies and research institutes such as the University of Patras.3

Relationship with the tobacco industry

The NOSMOKE institute was awarded grants totalling $105,9854 on the 30 May 2018 and 16 November 2018, by FSFW. The FSFW describe this grant as being for Patras Science Park and for the development of “an institute, which operates as a research and innovation center in the field of modified risk products (MRTPs) and tobacco harm reduction.”5

In July 20186 the staff from the Foundation for a Smoke Free World visited Patras Science Park and NOSMOKE to discuss setting up offices.

People

Konstantinos Poulas, Associate Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Patras,7 is listed on the NOSMOKE homepage and on academic papers8 as a member of the organisation. All other listed NOSMOKE team members are students at the University of Patras.

Dr Konstantinos Farsalinos, also of the University of Patras, is a frequent co-author on papers with Poulas and the NOSMOKE institute. Farsalinos has publicly stated that he has “not even visited” the NOSMOKE.TEAM and that the University of Patras is not a grantee of FSFW.9

Poulas and Farsalinos co-authored papers on the role of smoking and nicotine in infection during the COVID-19 pandemic.10 Poulas declares no conflict of interest on papers that suggest the use of nicotine products for COVID-19 treatment.11

Product development

The only listed NOSMOKE Institute ”innovation” is an undergraduate startup developing an organic and essential oil-based vaping product named “Agromist”.12

Outputs

Of the academic papers listed on the NOSMOKE website13 five out of 11 are authored by the tobacco industry, including PMI,14 BAT15 and Altria.16 These papers mostly cover the reduced harm of non-combustible nicotine products compared with cigarettes and analysis of smoking habits.17

None of the papers are attributed to the NOSMOKE Institute itself, but do include papers co-authored by Poulas and Farsalinos.18

Relevant links

NOSMOKE Institute
FSFW Awarded Grants
Patras Science Park

TT resources

References

  1. NOSMOKE.TEAM, website, undated, accessed May 2020
  2. University of Patras, Konstantinos Poulas profile page, undated, accessed May 2020
  3. Patras Science Park, About Patras Science Park, undated, accessed May 2020
  4. Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Form 990-PF, 2018 Tax Return, 13 May 2019, accessed May 2019
  5. Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Awarded Grants, accessed May 2020
  6. Patras Science Park, Facebook, “Today the Foundation of Smoke-Free World visited Patras Science Park.”, 15 July 2018, accessed May 2020
  7. University of Patras, Konstantinos Poulas profile page, undated, accessed May 2020
  8. S. Lampos, E. Kostenidou, K. Farsalinos, Z. Zagoriti, A. Ntoukas, K. Dalamarinis, P. Savranakis, G. Lagoumintzis, K. Poulas, Real-Time Assessment of E-Cigarettes and Conventional Cigarettes Emissions: Aerosol Size Distributions, Mass and Number Concentrations, Toxics, 2019, 7, 45
  9. K. Farsalinos (@FarsalinosK), Tweet: ‘Defamatory article by an org from Thailand’, Twitter, 30 March 2020, 3:15 PM
  10. K. Farsalinos, R. Niaura, K. Poulas, COVID-19, a disease of the nicotinic cholinergic system? Nicotine may be protective, Qeios, 2020
  11. K. Farsalinos, R. Niaura, J. Le Houezec, A. Barbouni, A. Tsatsakis, D. Kouretas, A. Vantarakis, K. Poulas, Editorial: Nicotine and SARS-CoV-2: COVID-19 may be a disease of the nicotinic cholinergic system, Toxicology Reports, 30 April 2020, doi:10.1016/j.toxrep.2020.04.012
  12. NOSMOKE.TEAM, Agromist, undated, accessed May 2020
  13. NOSMOKE.TEAM, Papers, accessed May 2020
  14. B. Titz et al. A 90-day OECD TG 413 rat inhalation study with systems toxicology endpoints demonstrates reduced exposure effects of the aerosol from the carbon heated tobacco product version 1.2 (CHTP1.2) compared with cigarette smoke. II. Systems toxicology assessment, Food and Chemical Toxicology, May 2018, Pages 284-301
  15. N. Gale et al. Changes in Biomarkers of Exposure on Switching From a Conventional Cigarette to Tobacco Heating Products: A Randomized, Controlled Study in Healthy Japanese Subjects, Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Volume 21, Issue 9, September 2019, Pages 1220–1227
  16. M. Oldham, J. Zhang, M. Rusyniak, D. Kane, W. Gardner, Particle size distribution of selected electronic nicotine delivery system products, Food and Chemical Toxicology, Volume 113, March 2018, Pages 236-240
  17. L. Popova, B. Majeed, D. Owusu, C. Adams Spears, D. Ashley, Who are the smokers who never plan to quit and what do they think about the risks of using tobacco products?, Addictive Behaviors, Volume 87, December 2018, Pages 62-68
  18. K. Farsalinos, N. Yannovits, T. Sarri, V. Voudris,  K. Poulas,  S. Leischow, Carbonyl emissions from a novel heated tobacco product (IQOS): comparison with an e‐cigarette and a tobacco cigarette, Addiction, 19 June 2018