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Nicotine Tob Res. 2018 Jul 9;20(8):1004-1009. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntx138.

Nicotine Delivery to the Aerosol of a Heat-Not-Burn Tobacco Product: Comparison With a Tobacco Cigarette and E-Cigarettes.

Author information

Department of Cardiology, Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, Kallithea, Greece.
Department of Pharmacy, University of Patras, Rio-Patras, Greece.
Skylab-Med Laboratories of Applied Industrial Research and Analysis S.A., Marousi, Greece.



The purpose was to measure nicotine levels to the tobacco and levels emitted to the aerosol of a heat-not-burn product (HnB, IQOS) compared to e-cigarettes (ECs) and a tobacco cigarette.


The HnB device and regular and menthol sticks were purchased from Italy. Three types of ECs (ciga-like, eGo-style, and variable wattage) and a commercially-available tobacco cigarette were also tested. A custom-made liquid containing 2% nicotine was used with ECs. Products were tested using Health Canada Intense puffing regime while HnB and ECs were additionally tested using a 4-second puff duration regime while maintaining the same puff volume.


Nicotine content in HnB regular and menthol tobacco sticks was 15.2 ± 1.1 mg/g and 15.6 ± 1.7 mg/g tobacco respectively. The levels of nicotine to the aerosol were similar for regular and menthol HnB products (1.40 ± 0.16 and 1.38 ± 0.11 mg/12 puffs respectively) and did not change significantly with prolonged puff duration. The tobacco cigarette delivered the highest level of nicotine (1.99 ± 0.20 mg/cigarette), with levels being higher than HnB and ECs under Health Canada Intense regime but similar to eGo-style and variable wattage ECs at prolonged puff duration regime.


The HnB product delivers nicotine to the aerosol at levels higher than ECs but lower than a tobacco cigarette when tested using Health Canada Intense puffing regime. No change in HnB nicotine delivery was observed at prolonged puff duration with the same puff volume, unlike ECs which deliver more nicotine with longer puff duration.


Nicotine delivery to the smoker is expected to play an important role in the ability of any harm-reduction product to successfully substitute smoking. This study evaluated the content and nicotine delivery to the aerosol of a heat-not-burn tobacco product (IQOS) in comparison with e-cigarettes and a tobacco cigarette. The main findings were that the heat-not-burn tobacco sticks contained similar nicotine concentration to tobacco cigarettes, and that the levels of nicotine delivered to the aerosol of the heat-not-burn products were lower than tobacco cigarette, higher than e-cigarettes at low puff duration but lower than high-power e-cigarettes at longer puff duration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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