The science behind IQOS
Our scientific assessment journey
We have developed a comprehensive step-by-step scientific assessment program. This program is inspired by the practices of the pharmaceutical industry and is in line with the FDA’s 2012 guidance on the assessment of candidate Modified Risk Tobacco products. Our assessment was also conducted according to international standards.
Is IQOS less toxic?
In laboratory settings, we found that IQOS’ tobacco aerosol is less toxic than cigarette smoke.
Our scientists test our products thoroughly before they go into adult smokers’ hands. Using in vitro* assays in our labs, we assessed the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of IQOS tobacco aerosol in comparison with the smoke of a reference cigarette designed for research purposes. Taken together, the results of these assays show that IQOS tobacco aerosol is significantly less toxic than the smoke from reference cigarette.* A test performed in vitro ("in the glass") means that it is done outside of a living organism and it usually involves isolated tissues, organs or cells. They are used to evaluate human specimen (blood, urine, other).
Do the significantly lower number and levels of harmful chemicals in IQOS tobacco aerosol also mean lower levels of such chemicals in the body? If you reduce the level of harmful chemicals in IQOS tobacco aerosol, it would make sense that switching completely to IQOS from cigarettes reduces exposure to these harmful chemicals. To prove this, we measured biomarkers of exposure for a number of these harmful chemicals in thousands of smokers who participated in our clinical study program (some switched to IQOS, while others either continued smoking their cigarette brand or quit for the duration of the study).
Our clinical study participants who switched to IQOS also report that IQOS provides comparable levels of experience as cigarettes. This supports our view that IQOS has the potential to be an acceptable alternative for adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke. Based on all the scientific evidence, we are confident that switching completely to IQOS is less harmful than continuing to smoke cigarettes.
However, and this is important: IQOS is not risk-free and the reduction in risk also depends upon each individual’s smoking history. The absolute best choice remains to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether. IQOS is not an alternative to cessation. It delivers nicotine, which is addictive.
Long term studies
Once IQOS is available in the market, the research moves from being conducted in a pre-market setting to a real-world post-market setting. There, we look at how the product is being used and by whom in order to complement our pre-market findings and to do our best to identify and prevent use or uptake by unintended audiences. After years of commercialization in many countries, the available data confirms our pre-market observations that IQOS is chosen by adult smokers and there is a relative lack of interest in former and never smokers.
IQOS is a better choice than continued smoking.
The totality of scientific evidence available to-date clearly demonstrates that switching completely to IQOS presents less risk to your health than continuing to smoke cigarettes*.