The science and research 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.
Step 1: Is the tobacco vapor generated by IQOS less toxic than cigarette smoke in a laboratory environment ?
In laboratory settings, we found out that the tobacco vapor produced by IQOS is less toxic than cigarette smoke. Using in vitro assays in our labs, we assessed the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of IQOS tobacco vapor in comparison with the smoke of a reference cigarette designed for research purposes. Taken together, the results of these assays show that the tobacco vapor produced by IQOS is significantly less toxic than the smoke from a reference cigarette.
This is just a glimpse of our work. These tests were crucial before we moved on to test IQOS with thousands of adult smokers who voluntarily participated in our clinical study program.
Step 2: Clinical studies.
Do the significantly lower number and levels of harmful chemicals in tobacco vapor generated by IQOS also mean lower levels of such chemicals in the body? If you reduce the level of harmful chemicals in tobacco vapor generated by IQOS, 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 (one group continued smoking their cigarettes, one group switched to IQOS, and the third group had to quit smoking for the duration of the study).
These studies show that, when smokers switch to IQOS, their body absorbs significantly lower levels of harmful chemicals – but it doesn’t end there.
Step 3: IQOS satisfaction studies.
Participants in the clinical study who had to use IQOS during the duration of the study also report that IQOS provides comparable levels of satisfaction to cigarettes. This supports our view that IQOS has the potential to be an acceptable alternative for adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke.
Step 4: 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, in particular non-smokers. After years of commercialization in several countries, the data confirms the pre-marketing observations, particularly in terms of the interest of IQOS for adult smokers and the lack of interest in it by former smokers and non-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.
IQOS is a better choice than continuing smoking. It not only delivers tobacco satisfaction with less smell in comparison to cigarettes, 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.*