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Awareness, experience and prevalence of heated tobacco product, IQOS, among young Korean adults
  1. Jinyoung Kim1,
  2. Hyunjae Yu2,
  3. Sungkyu Lee3,
  4. Yu-Jin Paek1,4
  1. 1 Southern Gyeonggi Regional Smoking Cessation Centre, Hallym University, Anyang, Republic of Korea
  2. 2 School of Communication, Sogang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  3. 3 National Tobacco Control Centre, Korea Health Promotion Institute, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  4. 4 Department of Family Medicine, Health Promotion Center, Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital, Anyang, Republic of Korea
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sungkyu Lee, National Tobacco Control Centre, Korea Health Promotion Institute, Seoul 04554, Republic of Korea; wwwvince77{at}


Introduction Philip Morris International introduced ‘IQOS’ to the Korean market in June 2017. To monitor the use of IQOS among young Korean adults, we identified their awareness, experience and current use of IQOS.

Methods Three months after the introduction of IQOS in Korea, we conducted an online survey with 228 general young adults, aged 19–24 years.

Results 87 participants (38.1%) were aware of IQOS, 13 (5.7%) were IQOS ever users and 8 (3.5%) were current IQOS users. All the current IQOS users were triple users of conventional cigarettes and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). There were no IQOS-only users and one IQOS ever user was a non-cigarette smoker. Among the eight current IQOS users who smoked 9.1 conventional cigarettes a day on average, four smoked 10–20 HEETS sticks a day. The current IQOS users decided to use IQOS because they believed it was less harmful or to stop smoking. The current conventional cigarette smokers were much more likely to be aware of IQOS (OR 4.496; 95% CI 2.185 to 9.250) and to be IQOS ever users (OR 11.649; 95% CI 1.024 to 132.564).

Conclusion Awareness, experience and use of IQOS among young Korean adults were relatively higher than among their Japanese counterparts. Current IQOS users were more likely to smoke conventional cigarettes and/or e-cigarettes, which contradicts the tobacco industry’s claims that conventional cigarette smokers will switch to heated tobacco products. Until obtaining robust evidence concerning heated tobacco products, the government should regulate the tobacco industry’s marketing tactics and health claims.

  • electronic nicotine delivery devices
  • harm reduction
  • non-cigarette tobacco products
  • surveillance and monitoring
  • public policy

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  • Contributors JK, HY and SL collected and analysed the data. JK and YJP prepared the first draft of the manuscript. HY and SL reviewed all of the drafts and helped prepare the final manuscript.

  • Funding This research was funded by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea.

  • Disclaimer The funder played no role in the decision to submit the article or in its preparation.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval Institutional Review Board for Human Research at Sogang University (No SGUIRB-A-1708-21).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.