Send to

Choose Destination
Tob Control. 2018 Nov;27(Suppl 1):s87-s95. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2018-054324. Epub 2018 Sep 12.

Light and mild redux: heated tobacco products' reduced exposure claims are likely to be misunderstood as reduced risk claims.

Author information

School of Public Health, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
Center for Tobacco Control Research & Education, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA.
Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular Research Institute, Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA.



Heated tobacco products (HTPs) are being marketed in several countries around the world with claims that they are less harmful than combusted cigarettes, based on assertions that they expose users to lower levels of toxicants. In the USA, Philip Morris International (PMI) has submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2016 seeking authorisation to market its HTPs, IQOS, with reduced risk and reduced exposure claims.


We examined the PMI's Perception and Behavior Assessment Studies evaluating perceptions of reduced risk claims that were submitted to the FDA and made publicly available.


Qualitative and quantitative studies conducted by PMI demonstrate that adult consumers in the USA perceive reduced exposure claims as reduced risk claims.


The data in the PMI modified risk tobacco product IQOS application do not support reduced risk claims and the reduced exposure claims are perceived as reduced risk claims, which is explicitly prohibited by the FDA. Allowing PMI to promote IQOS as reduced exposure would amount to a legally sanctioned repeat of the 'light' and 'mild' fraud which, for conventional cigarettes, is prohibited by the US law and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.


advertising and promotion; non-cigarette tobacco poroducts; packaging and labelling; tobacco industry

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center