Summary of the Evidence: Pulmonary and Immunosuppressive Effects of IQOS

Executive Summary

The Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA recently published a Research Paper in Tobacco Control (Moazed 2018) claiming that “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”. The Research Report further states that “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.”

We have assessed the claims in this Research Paper, based on a careful review of our scientific data submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The interpretation of the data included in PMI’s MRTP application for IQOS to the U.S. FDA requires knowledge of the design and conduct of toxicology and clinical studies. In order to reach accurate, science-based conclusions, a careful review and analysis of the procedures and all available data should be done. Such an analysis was not performed by the authors and therefore, the conclusions they have drawn are incorrect and misleading.

We have prepared a detailed point-by-point assessment of the claims made by the authors, and this detailed analysis can be found here.

In conclusion, based on an analysis of our toxicological studies and clinical studies performed according to international standards of Good Laboratory and Good Clinical Practice, the Tobacco Heating System (THS, marketed in various countries under the brand name IQOS) presents less risk of harm and can reduce the risk of smoking-related diseases compared with continued smoking. This includes a significant reduction in inflammatory response and favorable changes in lung function.

Although THS is not risk-free, switching completely to THS is a much better choice for adult smokers than continuing to smoke cigarettes.