Comparison of iQOS and Vaping by the University of Leuven

Embargoed to 13:30 Friday 15 June 2018


Adriaens Karolien, MSc1; Van Gucht Dinska, Ph.D.1,2; Baeyens Frank, Ph.D.1

1 Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, KU Leuven – University of Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, 3000 Leuven

2 Thomas More University of Applied Sciences, Molenstraat 8, 2018 Antwerp, Belgium


An independent study completed in June 2018 by academics at KU Leuven has compared the effectiveness of iQOS and vaping with smoking at reducing i) the cravings for smoking and the ii) the harms from smoking.

Craving For Smoking: the researchers compared how various products reduce the craving to smoking regular tobacco cigarettes. On average, smokers scored their pre-use craving, after 12-hour smoking abstinence, at 68 out of 100. After smoking a cigarette the craving was reduced to 20. With iQOS it was reduced to 40 as with vaping. This may indicate that these inexperienced users of vapour products were i) not as skilled at inhaling sufficient nicotine through iQOS and vaping as they were with cigarettes and / or ii) these modern devices are not as effective at delivering nicotine as smoking due to regulatory limits on nicotine strengths and / or iii) there are technological limits on how much nicotine these devices can deliver and / or iv) cigarette smoke produces other craving related chemicals which are not found in the vapour products. Important here is that these possible explanations should be further investigated via independent research.

Carbon Monoxide Levels: CO levels in the participants increased by 4 parts per million when they smoked cigarettes. With iQOS the increase was much lower at 0.3 parts per million. With vaping there was no increase in carbon monoxide.

Thirty participants completed the whole study which was led by Karolien Adriaens of KU Leuven in Belgium.