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This article was originally published on Exclusive Bulletin on June 1, 2020

IQOS Heating System: A Closer Look at the World’s Most Advanced Smoke-Free Device

Despite what most people believe, science has proven that smoking-related diseases are mainly due to the combustion of tobacco. Not starting smoking or quitting is, of course, the best option but for those who do not intend to stop smoking, science and technology have made available better alternatives.

When tobacco is burned, the process of combustion produces over 6,000 chemicals, 1% of which have been identified as causes or potential cause of smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and emphysema.

Over the last decade, Philip Morris International (PMI) has invested heavily in research and development of smoke-free products that do not rely on combustion and that may be considered as better alternatives to cigarettes, but not risk-free, for smokers who do not intend to stop smoking. PMI engineers and scientists developed a range of products that heat tobacco without burning it. These products deliver a nicotine-containing aerosol that has lower levels of harmful chemicals than cigarettes, while still satisfying adult smokers with the taste and experience they enjoy about smoking.

Let’s take a closer look at the technology inside PMI’s most advanced smoke-free product to date: IQOS.

IQOS Tobacco Heating System (THS)

Inside PMI’s THS are highly advanced electronics that heat without burning, specially designed heated tobacco units just enough to release a nicotine-containing aerosol.

When a cigarette is lit, it burns at temperatures of around 600°C or greater, whereas the THS heats tobacco up to 350°C, without burning it and therefore without fire, ash, or smoke. The levels of harmful chemicals in the nicotine-containing aerosol are significantly reduced compared to cigarette smoke. However, THS is not risk-free and delivers nicotine, which is addictive.

How Does IQOS Work?

IQOS is a fully integrated product that combines the holder and the charger. The consumer simply inserts the stick, the heated unit, into the holder, pushes a button to turn on the electronically controlled heater, and then draws on the stick to inhale a nicotine-containing aerosol. Once the stick is consumed, after about six minutes or 14 puffs whichever comes first— the consumer removes the stick and can dispose it in a waste bin.

When the stick is inserted into the holder, an electronically controlled heating blade heats the tobacco to temperatures up to 350°C, while constantly monitoring its temperature to ensure a premium and consistent taste and to avoid burning. The holder is equipped with a mechanism that protects against over-heating, which turns the device off if temperatures get too high.

After each use of a stick with the original component of the heating system, the small battery in the holder will need to be recharged by inserting it into the charger. The IQOS DUO allows a second use before recharging and the IQOS Multi, can be used up to ten times before recharging.

To date, approximately 10.6 million consumers have already chosen to switch from cigarettes to IQOS—although heated tobacco products are not risk free, they represent a better choice and alternative than continue to smoke, however the best choice remains to quit smoking completely.


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