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 (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) 2012 guidance on the assessment of Modified Risk Tobacco products. Our asessment was also conducted according to international standards.
Is IQOS less toxic?
In laboratory settings, we found that IQOS’ tobacco vapor 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 vapor in comparison with the smoke of a reference cigarette designed for research purposes. Taken together, the results of these assays show that IQOS tobacco vapor is significantly less toxic than the smoke from 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 and ultimately allowed us to commercialize our products. IQOS generates, on average, a 95% less harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes*.
Based on scientific studies conducted with manufacturer's heated tobacco units designed for IQOS.
Do the significantly lower levels of harmful substances in IQOS tobacco vapor also mean lower levels of those chemicals substances in your body? If you reduce the level of harmful substances in tobacco heated vapor, it would make sense that switching completely to IQOS lowers your exposure to these harmful substances. To prove this, we measured biomarkers of exposure for a number of these harmful substances 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). These studies show that when smokers switch to IQOS, their body absorbs significantly lower levels of harmful suibstances, which in turn results in favorable changes in a number of risk markers selected because of their known association with smoking-related diseases.
This supports our view that IQOS has the potential to be a better alternative for adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke. 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.
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.
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 risks 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.