Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

IQOS: examination of Philip Morris International’s claim of reduced exposure

Published Web Location
No data is associated with this publication.
Creative Commons 'BY-NC-SA' version 4.0 license


New electronic heated tobacco products are being introduced in the global market and are gaining popularity. In 2016, Philip Morris International, Inc. (PMI) submitted a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP) application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market IQOS in the USA with claims of reduced exposure and reduced risk.


We examined PMI's MRTP application, specifically sections on aerosol chemistry and human exposure assessment, to assess the validity of PMI's claims of reduced exposure and risk.


PMI reported levels for only 40 of 93 harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) on FDA's HPHC list in IQOS mainstream aerosol. All substances in PMI's list of 58 constituents (PMI-58) were lower in IQOS emissions compared with mainstream smoke of 3R4F reference cigarettes. However, levels of 56 other constituents, which are not included in the PMI-58 list or FDA's list of HPHCs, were higher in IQOS emissions; 22 were >200% higher and seven were >1000% higher than in 3R4F reference cigarette smoke. PMI's studies also show significantly lower systemic exposure to some HPHCs from use of IQOS compared with smoking combustible cigarettes.


PMI's data appear to support PMI's claim that IQOS reduces exposure to HPHCs. However, PMI's data also show significantly higher levels of several substances that are not recognised as HPHCs by the FDA in IQOS emissions compared with combustible cigarette smoke. The impact of these substances on the overall toxicity or harm of IQOS is not known.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item