Assessment of industry data on pulmonary and immunosuppressive effects of IQOS

Tob Control. 2018 Nov;27(Suppl 1):s20-s25. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2018-054296. Epub 2018 Aug 29.


Introduction: Heated tobacco products are being touted as novel reduced-harm tobacco products by tobacco companies. In the USA, Philip Morris International submitted a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP) application to the US Food and Drug Administration in 2016 in which it purports that its heated tobacco product, I-Quit-Ordinary-Smoking (IQOS), is associated with reduced harm compared with conventional cigarettes.

Methods: We reviewed Philip Morris International's MRTP application to assess the pulmonary and immune toxicities associated with IQOS use in both animal and human studies.

Results: Among rats exposed to IQOS, there was evidence of pulmonary inflammation and immunomodulation. In human users, there was no evidence of improvement in pulmonary inflammation or pulmonary function in cigarette smokers who were switched to IQOS.

Conclusion: IQOS is associated with significant pulmonary and immunomodulatory toxicities with no detectable differences between conventional cigarette smokers and those who were switched to IQOS in Philip Morris International's studies. Philip Morris International also failed to consider how dual use and secondhand aerosol exposure may further impact, and likely increase, the harms associated with these products.

Keywords: non-cigarette tobacco products; tobacco industry; toxicology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aerosols / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy*
  • Inflammation / chemically induced*
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Male
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Rats
  • Tobacco Industry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Tobacco Products / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Aerosols