Feb 19, 2024

Carbon monoxide levels: cigarettes vs heated tobacco

The harmful effects of carbon monoxide can be a significant concern for some adult smokers. The best decision any smoker can make is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether. For those who would otherwise continue to smoke cigarettes or use other nicotine products, exploring smoke-free alternatives might be more suitable. This article addresses the carbon monoxide levels within both cigarettes and IQOS heated tobacco products.


What is carbon monoxide?


Carbon monoxide, or CO for short, is an odourless, colourless toxic gas. It is produced in large amounts when certain things burn – like fuels, wood or the tobacco in cigarettes – and it is so famously harmful that most of us have alarms to warn of its presence in our homes.


When CO is inhaled, it is absorbed through your lungs into your bloodstream and reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to your body, affecting your brain, heart and muscles.


Carbon monoxide levels in cigarettes vs. heated tobacco products


Transitioning from cigarettes to smoke-free products can reduce carbon monoxide levels in your body. Did you know that smokers are more exposed to carbon monoxide compared to non-smokers? This is because cigarettes produce high amounts of carbon monoxide.


What is different about heated tobacco? The general assumption is that a smoke-free product like heated tobacco must deliver similar carbon monoxide levels compared to cigarettes because it uses tobacco. However, this is not the case for the IQOS tobacco heating system. Burning a cigarette produces smoke that contains a high amount of carbon monoxide. This is not the case with IQOS. Why? IQOS heats tobacco instead of burning it. It generates tobacco vapor that is fundamentally different from cigarette smoke and contains on average 98% less carbon monoxide (CO). *


Important information: this does not mean a 98% reduction in risk. IQOS is not risk-free.


* Reduction in carbon monoxide concentration compared to the smoke of a reference cigarette (3R4F).


It’s important to note that IQOS products are not risk-free. The best choice for smokers concerned about the health risks of smoking is to quit tobacco or nicotine use altogether. However, with the reduction in harmful chemicals, IQOS is a better choice than continued smoking for an adult smoker who would otherwise continue to smoke or use other nicotine products.


Where can I buy heated tobacco products?


The latest IQOS ILUMA uses the revolutionary bladeless SMARTCORE INDUCTION SYSTEM™. This provides a more pleasurable smoke-free experience compared to previous IQOS generations.*


*Studies conducted in Italy and Japan with a total of 714 IQOS users, November 2020 to March 2021.


Do not ingest or disassemble SMARTCORE STICKS™. This product contains a sharp metal part which can cause serious injury if swallowed. Keep out of reach of children. See important information.


This article is for general information and educational purposes. Some of the information in this article is based on external, third-party sources. We make no representations or warranties of any kind regarding the accuracy, validity or completeness of such information.