In 2014, Philip Morris International (PMI) introduced the IQOS heated tobacco product system. It has been widely reported in the media that IQOS is an acronym for 'I quit ordinary smoking'. To our knowledge, PMI has never publicly used any acronym to describe or market IQOS. Moreover, PMI has repeatedly denied that IQOS is an acronym. The acronym, which is an implicit cessation claim, has also appeared in numerous peer-reviewed publications. While the origins of the acronym are unknown, PMI stands to benefit from the publicity and associated positive connotations. It is possible that early adopters of IQOS created the acronym online, which was then picked by reporters and the research community. Alternatively, given that tobacco manufacturers have used social media influencers to promote their products, it is also possible that PMI may have surreptitiously helped popularize the acronym. Regardless of its origin, researchers and journals should stop disseminating this internet myth that promotes a potentially misleading claim.
- advertising and promotion
- non-cigarette tobacco products
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Contributors AS conceptualised the paper and led the writing of the manuscript’s first draft. BF helped draft and revise the manuscript.
Funding AS is supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number F31DA045424. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.