Heated tobacco products (HTP) are a form of nicotine delivery intended to be an alternative to traditional cigarettes. HTP tobacco products are sold to consumers as a less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes, both for users and bystanders. The actual impact of HTP on the health of users and its overall impact on public health is still not fully known. A systematic search of the literature was carried out to identify relevant studies published in English from 2015 to February 2021. The following databases were used: PubMed, Scopus, Elsevier and ClinicalKey. 25 studies (independent and sponsored by the tobacco industry) were considered. The analysis of exposure biomarkers and cardiovascular and respiratory biomarkers showed differences between smokers and people using heated tobacco products. Improvements in clinically relevant risk markers, especially cholesterol, sICAM-1, 8-epi-PGF2α, 11-DTX-B2, HDL and FEV1, were observed compared to persistent cigarette smokers. On the other hand, exposure to IQOS has been reported to alter mitochondrial function, which may further exaggerate airway inflammation, airway remodeling and lung cancer. These products have the potential to increase oxidative stress and increase respiratory tract infections by increasing microbial adherence to the respiratory tract. Our review suggests that HTP products may be products with a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and cancer compared to traditional smoking, although in the case of non-smokers so far, they may pose a risk of their occurrence. Research seems to be necessary to assess the frequency of HTP use and its potential negative health effects.
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