Independent studies

      Independent research on smoke-free products

      We welcome and encourage independent research on our smoke-free products and our methods and results. Over the past few years, a rapidly growing number of organizations and institutions have initiated studies on smoke-free products and/or the methods/results surrounding them.

      Updated: 23 June 2023


      ​Since 2014 when we first launched our Tobacco Heating System (THS), we’ve continued to publish the results of our assessment of this and other smoke-free products in our growing portfolio. Independent research has also dramatically increased over that time frame.

      Starting with less than 20 independent papers published by the end of 2017, we are now seeing more than 100 research papers published per year that contain original data, analysis, methodology, case reports, and reviews on the heated tobacco products (HTPs). And that doesn’t include many commentaries and opinion pieces that are also published.

      To date, we’ve counted more than 600 independent publications on the HTP category meeting these criteria. Many of these are focused on THS.

      This graph shows the number of independent studies on heated tobacco products published each year, which has significantly increased since 2017. Specific criteria for inclusion in this graph are noted above. THS was first launched in 2014 and in most markets is the most common HTP on the market. Because a sizeable portion of independent research focuses on the HTP category and not on THS specifically, we show here the number of publications on the HTP category.

      Among those studies that are focused on some aspect of our product risk assessment, many examine the THS system and/or the aerosol it creates. There are also many studies focusing on clinical results and health-related outcomes. Public awareness of the products, public perceptions about these products, the prevalence of product use, and use patterns are also of significant interest to the research community, as evidenced by the significant number of publications dedicated to those topics. Some of the studies aimed to replicate our own results, typically observing similar outcomes as we did, while significantly more studies focused on answering new research questions.

      This graph shows the number of independent publications distributed by their research focus. Importantly, some publications cover multiple topics, and so are represented multiple times – once for each category they cover in this graph. Not all publications fit into these categories, but they are among the most common topics for independent research on HTPs.

      How do we keep track of independent studies?

      We have set alerts on several publication databases, including PubMed, Scopus, Embase, SciFinder, and Google Scholar. For each of these databases, we have set search queries and receive regular updates on new publications. Those publications are then screened and added to the database.

      Here is a sample search query that we use to identify new publications via PubMed:

      Expert reports