The science and vision behind IQOS

IQOS is the combination between science, technology and vision.

Science behind heated tobacco

We believe in science. We believe it can change the lives of millions of smokers, who would otherwise continue to smoke. To this effect, we recruited scientists to work on an important idea: developing less harmful products that cigarette smokers can switch to if they don’t quit. Hundreds of scientists and engineers at PMI’s global Research and Development centers in Switzerland and Singapore have developed and evaluated IQOS, an innovative electronic device that heats and not burns tobacco. It produces a tobacco vapour that delivers tobacco taste and nicotine.

Tested to the highest standards.

IQOS has gone through robust scientific assessments, including, to date, 18 non-clinical and 10 clinical studies involving thousands of participants.  The totality of evidence available shows that, while IQOS use is not risk-free, switching completely to IQOS presents less risk to your health than continuing to smoke cigarettes.

Do you want to find out why we can conclude this? Learn more about some of the key pieces of scientific evidence on IQOS.

Why heating is better.

Technology – the world revolves around it. Over the years, it has radically changed our lives for the better. The way we work, the way we communicate, the way we travel. By combining science and technology is how we developed a better alternative to continued smoking.

IQOS is changing for the better the way adult smokers, who would otherwise continue to smoke, can enjoy tobacco.

IQOS heats tobacco instead of burning it for a simple reason: the burning of tobacco emits high amounts of harmful chemicals like carbon monoxide. IQOS HeatControl™ Technology prevents tobacco from burning, which means it significantly reduces the number and level of harmful chemicals emitted compared to cigarette smoke.

Heating technology.

When a cigarette is lit, the tobacco burns at temperatures of around 600°C. This burning process generates smoke and ash; when a smoker takes a puff, the temperature rises above 800°C at the burning tip.

Cigarette smoke is a complex mixture of over 6,000 chemical substances, around 100 of which have been linked to smoking-related diseases by public health authorities.

IQOS HeatControl™ Technology heats tobacco to a lower temperature (less than 350°C), ensuring that combustion does not occur. Because there is no combustion, IQOS does not produce smoke. It generates a tobacco vapour that brings you a high-quality tobacco taste experience with 95% less* harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes.

Important information: It does not necessarily equal a 95% reduction in risk. IQOS is not risk-free.
* “95% less” represents the average reductions in levels of a range of harmful chemicals (excluding nicotine) compared to the smoke of a reference cigarette (3R4F). See Important Information on IQOS.com
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Cigarettes produce tar, IQOS doesn't

"Tar" is the residue from smoke after a cigarette has burned. IQOS does not produce tar because it heats tobacco instead of burning it. It generates an aerosol residue that is fundamentally different from "Tar" and consists of significantly lower levels of harmful chemicals.* Switching completely to IQOS is less harmful than continuing to smoke.**

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Although IQOS does not produce tar, IQOS is not risk free, and delivers nicotine which is addictive.

*Average reductions in the levels of a range of harmful chemicals (excluding nicotine) compared to cigarette smoke.

** Source: Based on the totality of evidence available for IQOS in comparison with continuing to smoke.

Tobacco vapour vs smoke.

IQOS tobacco vapour is less harmful than cigarette smoke. To demonstrate this, we conducted a comprehensive assessment programme that included 10 clinical studies on aerosol chemistry (as well as data from 18 non-clinical studies), and involved thousands of participants in the US, Japan, UK and Poland. Evidence demonstrates that switching completely to IQOS, while not risk-free, presents less risk of harm compared with continuing to smoke cigarettes.

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IQOS emits less harmful chemicals than cigarettes

Cigarettes burn tobacco, which produces high amounts of carbon monoxide. IQOS doesn’t burn tobacco, producing on average 98% less carbon monoxide (CO) and significantly lower levels of other harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes.*

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This does not mean a 98% reduction in risk. IQOS is not risk-free, and delivers nicotine which is addictive.

*Source: We measured the levels of certain harmful chemicals prioritised for reporting by renowned public health organisations, and these are reduced on average by 95% compared to the smoke of a cigarette (nicotine excluded).

Indoor air quality.

Indoor Air Quality (“IAQ”) refers to the air quality inside buildings, generally based on the principle of ensuring the health and comfort of the occupants. Temperature, humidity and contaminants are some of the factors that can affect the indoor air quality. But, human presence and activities such as cooking, cleaning or smoking have been proven to have considerable impact.

To enhance our knowledge and understanding the impact of IQOS on indoor air quality we conducted studies simulating “real-world” conditions in an environmentally controlled room. Our testing methods are validated, and ISO accredited.

Our study shows that, because IQOS does not burn tobacco and it does not generate smoke and it drastically reduces levels of harmful chemicals like carbon monoxide, it does not negatively impact indoor air quality. This means that the few compounds we nevertheless detected were found at very low concentrations and far below the maximum exposure levels defined in existing air quality guidelines.

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Science machine.

Did you know we’ve created a machine to show the significant differences between smoke produced by burning tobacco in a cigarette compared with the tobacco vapour generated when tobacco is heated in IQOS? Watch the science machine video to see more.

Switching to IQOS.

Our studies show that the satisfaction of those who switched completely to IQOS is comparable to that of those who continued to smoke cigarettes.* Discover more about our scientific assessment journey.

Discover the studies
* 3-month clinical study conducted in US and Japan with 160 adult smokers each, under near real-world conditions.
IQOS is not risk-free and delivers nicotine, which is addictive. The best decision any smoker can make is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether.