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Analysis of harmful substances according to the Swiss study, by how much is IQOS less harmful?

In the table, the results of an independent study by Swiss institutes comparing IQOS and classic cigarettes show the extreme decrease in harmful substances.


Update: The American FDA in January 2018, published a large IQOS harmfulness study, that confirms the Swiss results.


On the health impact of IQOS, we have the whole Harmfulness section where we try to refute myths and approach them sensibly. Clearly, IQOS is not risk-free and all discussions are only about how significant the difference is compared to cigarette smoking.



According to the Swiss study (the original for download here), a significant decrease in pollutants, and especially carcinogenic tar, after the transition to IQOS is apparent here. There is only one substance that is contained in higher quantities, but its harmfulness is not mentioned. When looking at the harmfulness of the ingredients you should consider whether it is better to stop smoking completely.


IQOS vs classic cigarette

Analyzed substance Consequences of inhalation according to Wiki IQOS Classic cigarette By how many percents is IQOS less harmful
Nicotine [μg/cigarette] addiction 301  361  -16%
Temperature [°C]    330  684  N/A
The number of puffs    12,6 13,3 N/A
Volatile organic matter, amount of μg per 1 cigarette
  Acetaldehyde  natural substance   133  610  -78%
  Acetone  irritating  12  95,5  -87%
 Acrolein     0,9 1,1  -18% 
 Benzaldehyde  N/A 1,2   2,4 -50% 
 Crotonaldehyde  toxic, irritaiting  0,7  17,4  -96%
 Formaldehyde  irritates the respiratory system  3,2 4,3  -26% 
 Isovaleralddehyde  commonly in food  3,5 8,5  -59% 
 Propionaldehyde  N/A  7,8 29,6  -74% 
Polyaromatic hydrocarbons, amount of μg per 1 cigarette
 Naphthalene headache, vomitting  1,6 1105   -99,9%
 Acenaftylen  N/A  1,9 235 -99% 
 Acenaften  N/A  145  49 +295% 
 Fluoren N/A  1,5  371 -99% 
 Antracen toxic,  irritates the respiratory s. 0,3  130  -99% 
 Fenantren carcinogenic  2  292 -99% 
 Fluoranten carcinogenic  7,3 123  -94% 
 Pyren toxic to liver and kidneys 6,4  89  -93% 
 Benz[a]antracen N/A  1,8 33  -94% 
 Chrysen carcinogenic  1,5 48  -97% 
 Benz[e]acefenantrylen  N/A 0,5  24  -98% 
 Benzo[k]fluoranten  N/A  0,4 24  -98% 
 Benzo[a]pyren suspected to be carcinogenic  0,8 20  -96% 
Inorganic substances, ppm in smoke
Carbon Dioxide poisonous, common and natural 3057   >9000  N/A 
Carbon Monoxide poisonous, block oxygen 328  >2000   N/A
Nitric Oxide poisonous, loosens muscle 5,5   89,4 -94% 


It's necessary to say that the results of this study were attacked by Philip Morris who doesn't agree with it or with some of it. Official content of HEETS according to the manufacturer.


Authors of the study

  • Reto Auer, MD, MAS
    Institute of Primary Health Care (BIHAM), University of Bern
  • Nicolas Concha-Lozano, Ph.D.Aurélie Berthet, PhD
    Institute for Work and Health, University of Lausanne and Geneva, Lausanne
  • Reto Auer, MD, MASIsabelle Jacot-Sadowski, MDJacques Cornuz, MD, MPH
    Department of Ambulatory Care and Community Medicine, University of Lausanne


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