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Analysis of harmful substances in HEETS from the Swiss study, how much is IQOS healthier?

An independent study of the Swiss institutes compared the IQOS and the regular cigarettes, show an extreme drop in harmful substances in HEETS inhaled tobacco smoke.


About harmfulness of IQOS we have the whole section on our website, where we try to rebut myths and reasonably approach the problem. It is clear that IQOS isn't risk-free and all the discussions are only about how significant the difference is compared to cigarette smoking.

According to the Swiss study, which you can find downloaded in the original version, there is a clear evidence of a significant drop in "junk" and especially carcinogenic tar when switching to IQOS. There is only one substance that is contained in a higher amount, but its harmfulness is not stated. In listing the harmfulness of the substances contained, you should consider whether it is better not to quit completely.


IQOS vs. standard cigarette comparison of harmful substances 

Analyzed substance Indicative consequences
inhalation by wiki



How much healthier is IQOS in %
Nicotine [μg/cigarette]  addiction 301  361  -16%
Temperature [°C]    330  684  N/A
Number of measured coatings    12,6 13,3 N/A
Volatile organic substances, amount of μg per 1 cigarette
  Acetaldehyde  natural substance  133  610  -78%
  Acetone  irritant  12  95,5  -87%
 Akrolein   linked with lung cancer  0,9 1,1  -18% 
 Benzaldehyde  N/A 1,2   2,4 -50% 
 Krotonaldehyde  toxic, irritant  0,7  17,4  -96%
 Formaldehyde  irritates respiratory tract  3,2 4,3  -26% 
 Isovaleralddehyde  commonly in food  3,5 8,5  -59% 
 Propionaldehyde  N/A  7,8 29,6  -74% 
Polyaromatic hydrocarbons, ng/1 cigarette
 Naftalene a headache, vomiting  1,6 1105   -99,9%
 Acenaftylene  N/A  1,9 235 -99% 
 Acenaften  N/A  145  49 +295% 
 Fluoren N/A  1,5  371 -99% 
 Antracene toxic, irritates respiratory tract 0,3  130  -99% 
 Phenantrene carcinogen  2  292 -99% 
 Fluoranten less dangerous carcinogen  7,3 123  -94% 
 Pyrene toxic for kidneys and liver 6,4  89  -93% 
 Benz[a]antracene N/A  1,8 33  -94% 
 Chrysen less dangerous carcinogen  1,5 48  -97% 
 Benz[e]acefenantrylene  N/A 0,5  24  -98% 
 Benzo[k]fluorantene  N/A  0,4 24  -98% 
 Benzo[a]pyrene suspected carcinogenicity  0,8 20  -96% 
Inorganic substances, ppm smoke
 Carbon dioxide poisonous, commonly in nature 3057   >9000  N/A 
 Carbon monoxide poisonous, blocks oxygen in the blood 328  >2000   N/A
 Nitric oxide poisonous, releases muscles 5,5   89,4 -94% 


For completeness, it is right to add that the Philip Morris disagrees with the results of the study. Official HEETS composition by 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 Lausanneand 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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