The in vitro toxicity of cigarette mainstream smoke from an electrically heated cigarette (EHC) with controlled combustion was compared with that of the standard University of Kentucky Reference Cigarette 1R4F. In the Salmonella reverse mutation assay, strains TA98, TA100, TA102, TA1535 and TA1537 were used in the absence and presence of a metabolic promutagen activation system (S9) to determine the mutagenic potential of the total particulate matter (TPM), which was collected on a glass-fiber filter. In the neutral red uptake assay, mouse embryo BALB/c 3T3 cells were used to determine the cytotoxic potential of TPM as well as of the water-solubles in the gas/vapor phase trapped in phosphate-buffered saline. The TPM from the electrically heated cigarette was up to 90% lower in mutagenicity than that of the 1R4F calculated on an equal TPM basis. This reduction in mutagenicity is consistent with the significantly lower concentration of nearly all constituents analyzed in EHC smoke. With regard to cytotoxicity when calculated on an equal TPM basis, TPM from the electrically heated cigarette was 40% less active relative to the 1R4F. When calculated on a per cigarette basis, the cytotoxicity of both the TPM fraction and the water-solubles in the gas/vapor phase of smoke from the EHC was ca. 80% lower relative to the 1R4F.