The first time you heard of heated tobacco devices, did you perhaps think that they were the same thing as electronic cigarettes? While both products are electronic, smoke-free alternatives for legal-aged smokers, there are some key differences to be aware of when making a choice between IQOS heated tobacco vs. e-cigarettes.
What is IQOS Heated Tobacco?
IQOS is a heated tobacco device developed by Philip Morris International that uses an innovative tobacco heating system called HeatControl™ Technology. This type of tobacco heating technology is often called “heat-not-burn”, because it heats tobacco instead of burning it – which is what happens with cigarettes.
Heating tobacco instead of burning it is the most crucial part of what makes IQOS an alternative to continued smoking. With IQOS, a tobacco stick called HEETS, which is made of real, processed tobacco, is inserted into the IQOS holder and onto a heating blade, with a heating temperature controlled to reach 350 degrees C. This heats the tobacco from the inside of the tobacco stick, releasing tobacco flavor with no fire, no ash, and no smoke.
Heated Tobacco vs. E-cigarettes & Vapes
So, if you are an adult who would otherwise continue to smoke or use other nicotine products looking for an alternative to smoking cigarettes, how do you choose between IQOS heated tobacco vs. e-cigarettes or vapes? IQOS is not an e-cigarette or vape- while they are both electronic alternatives to smoking, the key differentiator between the two is this: IQOS’s tobacco heating system heats processed tobacco, while e-cigarettes vaporize an e-liquid. Because of this difference, IQOS heated tobacco allows for the taste delivery and experience and provides cigarette-like satisfaction* that is familiar for adult smokers.
There are similarities between the two, however- IQOS heated tobacco devices and e-cigarettes are both smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes for adults who would otherwise continue to smoke or use other nicotine products.
Both are electronic devices, and do not generate smoke like cigarettes. But there is one feature that distinguishes IQOS tobacco heating system from e-cigarettes or vapes: Contrary to vaporizing an e-liquid, IQOS heats real tobacco, producing tobacco vapor.
What Are E-Cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes are another alternative to smoking. They are handheld devices that come in various sizes, with customization options. Some e-cigarettes are disposable, while others can be reused. In general, e-cigarettes heat e-liquids to generate an aerosol, also called a vapor. Those adults who use e-cigarettes also use the e-liquids, which come in various flavors, and may contain nicotine.
Electronic cigarettes heat and vaporize e-liquids between a wide range of temperatures – it could be anywhere from 100 degrees C to 250 degrees C. The e-liquid is drawn from the tank of the e-cigarette and put into contact with a battery powered heating component. Heating the liquid makes it evaporate, and when that happens, it can be drawn from the device through a mouthpiece.
- The battery - The energy source for the whole device. In most cases it is rechargeable and provides power to the heating element and electronic components.
- The tank - The container that is used to store the liquid until it is taken to the heating element or chamber. Some e-cigarettes use capsules or pods that are disposable.
- The e-liquid - The mixture that is vaporized inside the e-cigarette. While there are many variants of the liquids, they usually contain propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, flavorings and various additives.
- The heater - The set of components that draw the liquid toward the heating element and heat to vaporize. Most e-cigarettes use a “wick and coil” system. The wick naturally soaks the liquid and puts It In contact with the metal coil which is the part that heats.
- The sensors and electric components - Control the heating and operation of the device. They range from simple push to activate buttons, LEDs, battery Indicators or to advanced flow sensors.
- The mouthpiece - The chamber or channel where the vaporized liquid drawn from the device.
Where Can You Find IQOS Heated Tobacco Products?
*Average reductions in levels of a range of harmful chemicals (excluding nicotine) compared to the smoke of a reference cigarette (3R4F). It does not necessarily equal a 95% reduction in risk.
**Source: 3 month clinical studies conducted in US and Japan with 160 adult smokers each under real conditions (ambulatory).