Background: Philip Morris International (PMI) has developed a novel heat-not-burn tobacco product, Tobacco Heating System (THS), which is marketed under the brand name of IQOS with HEETS (IQOS). The aerosol generated by THS has substantially fewer toxicants than combustible cigarette smoke, although the extent of the reduction of harmful and potentially harmful constituents reported varies between studies. To evaluate the potential harm reduction associated with IQOS use, the assessment of the uptake and continued use of IQOS in the context of all other tobacco- and nicotine-containing products is crucial. In March 2018, PMI launched cross-sectional surveys in Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom (Greater London) to estimate the prevalence and use patterns of IQOS and other tobacco- and nicotine-containing products use in these 3 markets following the commercialization of IQOS. This study describes the protocol of the surveys.
Objective: The objectives of these surveys are to estimate the prevalence of tobacco- and nicotine-containing products use; describe past and current patterns of use; and explore their associations with self-reported health, motivation to use, risk perceptions, and perceived aesthetic changes.
Methods: The overall design of the surveys is similar in all 3 countries. Repeated cross-sectional surveys are being conducted annually over 3 consecutive years (2018 to 2020) and in 2 samples: a representative sample of the general population and a sample of IQOS users. A total of 6085 adults per year will be selected from the general population for each survey through multistage stratified sampling, and participants will respond to face-to-face computer-assisted personal interviews. In addition, 1404, 1384, and 1246 IQOS users per year in Germany, Italy, and Greater London, respectively, will be randomly selected from the PMI IQOS user database and will be invited to complete the Web-based survey using computer-assisted self-interviews. The Smoking Questionnaire is used to assess the tobacco use patterns of the participants.
Results: The recruitment of the general population sample began in March 2018 and that of the IQOS user sample began in April 2018. The data collection is ongoing, and the results of the first year data analysis are expected to be available by June 2019.
Conclusions: As the design of the 3 surveys is similar, the results will allow for cross-countries comparison of the prevalence of IQOS and other tobacco- and nicotine-containing products use as well as patterns of use and associated factors.
International registered report identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/12061.
Keywords: IQOS; cross-sectional survey; prevalence; tobacco heating system (THS); tobacco products.
©Zheng Sponsiello-Wang, Peter Langer, Luis Prieto, Mariia Dobrynina, Dimitra Skiada, Nathalie Camille, Rolf Weitkunat, Frank Lüdicke. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (http://www.researchprotocols.org), 09.05.2019.