April 20, 2020

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

PMI’s own data shows IQOS is as bad for lungs as a cigarette, including depressing immune function

Heated tobacco products like Philip Morris’ IQOS are being promoted as safer than cigarettes in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In contrast, PMI’s own data that was submitted to the FDA shows that, in terms of effects on lungs, including inflammation and depressed immune function, IQOS is not distinguishable from a cigarette. 

My colleagues at UCSF published “Assessment of industry data on pulmonary and immunosuppressive effects of IQOS” last year that provides the details.

Here is the abstract:

Introduction Heated tobacco products are being touted as novel reduced-harm tobacco products by tobacco companies. In the USA, Philip Morris International submitted a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP) application to the US Food and Drug Administration in 2016 in which it purports that its heated tobacco product, I-Quit-Ordinary-Smoking (IQOS), is associated with reduced harm compared with conventional cigarettes.

Methods We reviewed Philip Morris International’s MRTP application to assess the pulmonary and immune toxicities associated with IQOS use in both animal and human studies.

Results Among rats exposed to IQOS, there was evidence of pulmonary inflammation and immunomodulation. In human users, there was no evidence of improvement in pulmonary inflammation or pulmonary function in cigarette smokers who were switched to IQOS.

Conclusion 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. 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.

People who want to reduce their risk of COVID should not only stop smoking and vaping e-cigarettes, they should stop using heated tobacco products.

My blog post on smoking, vaping and COVID is here; I update it periodically.

The full citation is:  Moazed F, Chun L, Matthay MA, et al. Assessment of industry data on pulmonary and immunosuppressive effects of IQOS.  Tobacco Control 2018;27:s20-s25. It is available for free here.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.