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The science and research behind IQOS.

Our scientific assessment journey.

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Scientific programme.

We have developed a comprehensive step-by-step scientific assessment programme. This programme is inspired by the practices of the pharmaceutical industry and is in line with the USA’s Federal Drug Administration’s 2012 guidance on the assessment of candidate Modified Risk Tobacco products. Our assessment was also conducted according to international standards.

Is IQOS less harmful to health ?

In laboratory conditions, we discovered that the aerosol from IQOS devices is less toxic compared to cigarette smoke. Our scientists thoroughly test all of our products before they are delivered to adult smokers. Using in vitro tests at our laboratories, we evaluated the cycotoxicity and genotoxicity of tobacco aerosols from IQOS devices compared to smoke from the reference cigarette for research purposes. The summarized results of these tests indicate that aerosol generated by the IQOS device is significantly less toxic than smoke from the reference cigarette.

And that is just a small part of our work. From these laboratory tests, we progressed to testing IQOS with thousands of adult smokers, who volunteered to join our program for clinical studies and finally allowed us to introduce our products to the market.

Brilliant gold IQOS 3 DUO holder with HEETS stick and charger

Clinical studies.

Does a significantly lower number and quantity of harmful chemical substances in IQOS aerosol also mean a lower level of these chemical substances in the body? If the level of chemical substances in the aerosol from IQOS is lower, it might be assumed that switching entirely from cigarettes to IQOS will reduce exposure to these harmful substances. In order to prove this, we measured the exposure biomarkers for a range of these chemical substances among thousands of smokers, who participated in our clinical study program (some switched to IQOS while others either continued smoking their cigarette brand, or quit smoking during the study). These studies show that when smokers switch to IQOS, their body absorbs significantly lower levels of harmful chemicals, which in turn results in favorable changes in a number of risk markers selected because of their known association with smoking-related diseases.  

The results of these studies indicate that when adult smokers switch to IQOS, their body absorbs significantly lower levels of harmful chemical substances, which leads to positive changes in a number of risk markers, which were chosen due to their known links to smoking-related diseases.

But it doesn’t end.

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Satisfaction with IQOS

Participants in our clinical study who switched to IQOS also state that IQOS provides a comparable rate of satisfaction to cigarettes. This supports our opinion that IQOS has the potential to be an acceptable alternative for adult smokers who would otherwise continue smoking. Based on all the scientific evidence, we are convinced that switching entirely to IQOS is less harmful than continuing to smoke cigarettes. 

Important information: IQOS is not risk-free and the degree of reduced risk depends also on the frequency and use by each individual. The absolutely best choice remains to quit using tobacco and nicotine entirely. IQOS is not an alternative to quitting smoking. It contains nicotine, which is addictive.

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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 commercialisation in many countries, the available data confirms our pre-market observations, in particular in terms of IQOS’ appeal to adult smokers and the relative lack of interest in former and never smokers.

We also monitor reports of health effects now that the product is used by millions of adult users. Long-term studies will eventually help us to evaluate the potential disease–specific risk reduction of IQOS. Gathering data to answer this question takes time, but it’s the right choice. So far, all the data we’ve seen points in the right direction.

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The result

IQOS is a better choice than continued smoking. The summary of available data shows that while the use of an IQOS device is not risk-free, switching entirely to IQOS poses a lower risk to your health than continuing to smoke cigarettes.*

Important information: IQOS is not risk-free. It contains nicotine, which is addictive. 

*Source: Based on overall evidence available from comparing IQOS and continuing smoking.