You know how unpleasant that stale smoke smell can be. But, did you know that the reason for the smell has everything to do with burning?
Why burning smells so bad?
Generally, things that burn are most likely to produce less-than-pleasant odours and create smoke. For example, burning organic material produces chemicals that we’re sensitive to. These polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are produced when food is burned. Think about burnt toast for a second and how the charred smell lingers on… It’s dry food so there’s no fat to trap the smoke particles. These particles can therefore spread with the burnt smell, getting trapped in curtain and upholstery materials, and even binding to wall paint.
Or how about bonfires with garden waste? The smoke produced contains pollutants such as carbon monoxide, dioxins and particles. And burning plastic, rubber or painted materials smells even worse.
Even something as ordinary as hair can create an ‘Eeeww, what’s that terrible smell?!’ reaction. The heat from hair straighteners can weaken or even break keratin in hair, which not only damages it but also creates an awful burning odour.
A cigarette burns tobacco at incredibly high temperatures of up to 800°C. This creates what’s called a ‘smoke aerosol’ which contains carbon-based solid particles and high levels of harmful chemicals.
But, unlike cigarettes, IQOS uses heat not burn technology: IQOS heats tobacco at around 350°C and generates a nicotine-containing aerosol instead with a tobacco vapour.
We know, through our extensive research, that many of the chemical reactions that take place when lighting up a cigarette (combustion) don’t occur. We also know that the tobacco vapour from heated tobacco (IQOS) emits 95% less harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes.*
Important information: It does not necessarily equal a 95% reduction in risk. IQOS is not risk-free.
*Average reduction in levels of a broad range of harmful chemicals (excluding nicotine) compared to the smoke of a reference cigarette (3R4F).
How does this affect the air quality?
The quality of the air inside where we live, work or socialise depends on a whole bunch of factors, such as contaminated outdoor air and emissions from building materials, furniture, equipment, heating ventilation systems, and even cooking and cleaning.
If you or your partner smoke at home, another factor to add in is environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), sometimes called ‘second-hand smoke’. It’s a mix of side-stream smoke (which comes from a cigarette’s lit end when the cigarette isn’t puffed on) and mainstream smoke (the smoke exhaled by the smoker).
Our scientists test IQOS and Indoor Air Quality under the strictest of conditions in a dedicated room: The Cube. We track compounds in the air in conditions that simulate different environments, such as homes, offices and restaurants.
Can IQOS Be Used Indoors?
You’re probably now wondering if IQOS can be used indoors. Well, the good news is that our research in the Cube shows that the nicotine-containing aerosol generated by IQOS does not negatively impact indoor-air quality. So if you want to remove the smell of burnt tobacco from your life, you can use IQOS in your own home.
Some indoor public places in countries such as the UK are already aware of the differences between cigarette smoke and between IQOS vs vape. South African laws, restrict public smoking and, however, IQOS can be used indoors.
IQOS is not risk free