If you’ve heard about “smoke-free alternatives” but wondered what they are, you’re reading the right article. Smoke-free alternatives are products that do not burn tobacco like cigarettes and provide nicotine containing aerosol without smoke and ash.
Many adult smokers today explore smoke-free alternatives as an alternative to continued smoking. To understand why, it helps to consider why smoking is bad for you and what it means when you stop smoking and switch to a smoke-free alternative.
Smoking involves lighting a cigarette on fire and letting it burn, which produces cigarette smoke and releases harmful chemicals. The high levels of harmful chemicals in the smoke of a burning cigarette are the primary cause of smoking-related disease. In general, smoke-free products should not burn tobacco or generate tobacco smoke and therefore have the potential to emit significantly fewer and lower levels of harmful and potentially harmful constituents compared to cigarette smoke. The lack of combustion and the reduction in formation of harmful chemicals should be substantiated on a product-by-product basis. Smoke-free products are not risk free and provide nicotine which is addictive. One example of a smoke-free alternative is IQOS heated tobacco.
What happens when you stop smoking cigarettes and switch to smoke-free alternatives?
Smoke-free alternatives are not equivalent to quitting tobacco and nicotine use altogether, so they are not cessation aids. Since these products still contain nicotine, they are addictive. If you are a smoker and have concerns around health, then the best option to reduce the health risks associated with the use of tobacco and nicotine products is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether. However, for those adults who would otherwise continue to smoke, switching completely to smoke-free alternatives could be a better choice than continuing to smoke cigarettes.
We’ve outlined the main differences you are likely to notice when moving away from cigarettes to smoke-free options below.
An alternative to continued smoking
Much of the harm from smoking comes from combustion, or burning. The high temperatures created by the process of burning (combusting) tobacco causes the production of the majority and high levels of harmful chemicals detected in cigarette smoke. The cigarette smoke contains thousands of different chemicals, including about a hundred of them which are considered harmful and the primary cause of smoking-related diseases.
There is no debate that smoking is harmful or that nicotine is addictive. Unlike cigarettes that burn tobacco, smoke-free alternatives in general do not rely on combustion. By eliminating this, and therefore the smoke, the levels of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals can be dramatically reduced, limiting exposure to some of the primary causes of smoking-related diseases. Of course, it is a matter of scientific assessment of each particular smoke-free product to see if this is actually the case.
You will have a wide range of tastes and flavors to choose from
Smoke-free alternatives come in a wide assortment of different flavors, ensuring that there is something to suit every taste preference. With heated tobacco, there is a broad range of flavor options available too.
For example, HEETS tobacco sticks for IQOS offer a range of tobacco blends that can cater to every palette. From the rich and warm, to the mild and zesty, there is a HEETS flavor for every adult smoker.
You will not impact those around you with smoke
As their name implies, smoke-free alternatives do not generate smoke. Alternatives like heated tobacco and vaping emit an aerosol, which may look like smoke to the untrained eye, but it is not at all the smoke emitted when a cigarette burns. As a result, there is no ash created and in general less smell than cigarettes. Those close to you will not inhale cigarette smoke, nor be subjected to ash and cigarette smoke smell on their hair, hands or clothes.
For example, IQOS heated tobacco has no negative impact on indoor air quality.*
*Source: PMI study conducted under ISO standards simulating real-world scenarios and based on threshold limits established by existing air quality guidelines.
Tips on switching to smoke-free alternatives
While the best option for all adult smokers is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether, switching to smoke-free alternatives from smoking cigarettes can be an alternative for those adults who would otherwise continue to smoke or use nicotine products. Here are some general tips to help an adult smoker successfully switch to a smoke-free product.
List reasons why you want to switch
Start by taking a step back. Why do you want to switch to a smoke free alternative from cigarettes? Is it because your friends have encouraged it? Is it because you want to be away from ash and lingering smell of cigarettes? Or is it because you want to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals from smoking for yourself? Whatever the case, having a clear list of simple, memorable reasons that you can constantly refer to can help you commit to the switch.
You may ask your smoking friends not to offer you cigarettes or not to smoke around you. If you misplace your smoke-free product, it might be tempted to have a cigarette. Consider having your smoke-free product around so you don’t have an excuse to go back to cigarettes.
Tell your friends you’re switching
Letting others know that you’re making a switch from cigarettes to a smoke-free alternative will encourage them to check in with you.
Which smoke-free alternatives are available for adult smokers?
Nowadays so many different smoke-free alternatives available for adult smokers, making it possible to switch away from cigarettes. With so many different brands, products, and features to choose from, there is sure to be a smoke-free alternative that can suit your personal preferences.
Chewing tobacco has been around for a long time; in fact, some say that it’s one of the oldest ways to consume tobacco! In general, chewing tobacco comes in the form of loose leaves, plugs or twists of coarsely chopped, dried tobacco. It is placed between the cheek and lower gum or chewed, and nicotine is absorbed in the mouth. There is no smoke or aerosol created when chewing tobacco is consumed.
Snus usually comes in the form of finely ground tobacco that comes in a small pouch. It is placed in the adult user’s mouth, generally between the upper lip and gum.
E cigarettes, or vapes, are a type of smoke-free alternative with many product types, features, and customizations available. The fact that there is such a wide product range in vaping is one of the benefits that adult users enjoy.
Vapes are battery-powered devices that work by heating a liquid consumable, called e liquid, that contain flavorings and nicotine. While no real tobacco is consumed, e liquids can be found in countless flavors, including tobacco flavor. When the e liquid heats up, it vaporizes, and creates an aerosol.
There are some who question: is vaping as bad as smoking cigarettes? It is combustion that causes the production of the majority of harmful chemicals detected in cigarette smoke. The absence of combustion in e cigarettes has the potential to significantly reduce the levels of harmful chemicals generated and inhaled, which should however be scientifically demonstrated on a case-by-case basis. E cigarettes are not risk free.
Heated tobacco devices heat specially designed “tobacco sticks”, usually made of real, pressed tobacco, to precise temperatures, to ensure that the tobacco can release its flavor without any burning. Preventing the tobacco from burning also prevents the creation of smoke, which contains many harmful and potentially harmful chemicals. This allows adult users to enjoy real tobacco satisfaction without exposure to smoke, ash, or lingering smells, although heated tobacco products are not risk free
You can read more about these smoke free options in our article debunking myths around smoke free alternatives.
Why switch from cigarettes to smoke-free alternatives?
It’s simple: because it is an alternative to cigarettes for those adults who would otherwise continue smoking. While the best choice for all adult smokers is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether. And with so many different products available today, whether it’s e cigarettes or heated tobacco devices such as IQOS, there are countless ways to make the switch.
Learn more about the benefits of IQOS as a smoke-free alternative.
This article is for general information and educational purposes. Some of the information in this article is based on external, third-party sources and we make no representations or warranties of any kind regarding the accuracy, validity or completeness of such information.