Heated tobacco products (HTP) have become increasingly common in many countries worldwide. The principle of heating tobacco, without combustion, to produce a nicotine-containing aerosol with remarkably reduced levels of other known toxins, compared to combusted tobacco cigarettes, is now well established. As these products are intended as alternatives to traditional combusted products, during the early stages of their development, it is important for manufacturers to ensure that the design of the product does not lead to any unintentionally increased or new risk for the consumer, compared to the traditional products that consumers seek to replace. There is limited guidance from tobacco product regulations concerning the requirements for performing such preliminary toxicological assessments. Here, we review the published literature on studies performed on HTPs in the pursuit of such data, outline a proposed approach that is consistent with regulatory requirements, and provide a logical approach to the preliminary toxicological assessment of HTPs.