The History of IQOS

Technology & Research 13/04/2023

The idea of heating tobacco instead of burning has been around for decades. Research into heated tobacco devices began already in the 1980s. However, the first products were not particularly successful, especially in terms of consumer acceptance.


How IQOS heated tobacco devices were developed.

It was Philip Morris International that succeeded in launching IQOS, the first commercial heated tobacco device. The story of IQOS devices began with Philip Morris International's vision to offer smokers worldwide an alternative to conventional cigarettes that would reduce the release of harmful substances by gently heating the tobacco compared to combustion in conventional cigarettes. 1


By research to a real alternative.

For more than ten years now, we have been continuously researching our IQOS heated tobacco devices and have already invested more than 10.5 billion US dollars within that process. Work on our innovative heat-not-burn technology began back in 2008, and more than 400 scientists and engineers together have put their work and knowledge into the development of IQOS.
In November 2014, the first PMI heated tobacco device will be launched in Italy and Japan. Today, IQOS is available in 73 countries worldwide. The technology is constantly being developed further, so that new IQOS generations are already available in the market.


How does IQOS work?

A ceramic heating blade inside the IQOS device heats the specially developed HEETS tobacco sticks. Unlike conventional cigarettes, tobacco is not burned here, but heated to a precisely controlled temperature range.


Our best alternative for real tobacco enjoyment.

With IQOS you enjoy tobacco heated instead of burnt. The best decision for smokers is to stop using tobacco and nicotine altogether. However, for adult smokers who do not want to stop tobacco, we offer IQOS as an alternative to conventional cigarettes. More than 17.8 million adult smokers worldwide have already switched to IQOS.2
We continue to research and develop our technology and our heated tobacco devices to offer adult smokers a real alternative today and in the future. 


1  Compared to cigarette. Important information: IQOS is not risk-free. Average reduction in the concentration of individual harmful chemicals from IQOS (9 so-called "priority toxicants" identified by the WHO) compared to the smoke of a reference cigarette (3R4F). Based on Health Canada’s Intense Smoking Regime without nicotine.

2 PMI financials or estimates, IQOS user forums, and PMI market research. As of December 2022, IQOS users who have completely quit smoking and for whom HEETS tobacco sticks represent at least 70% of their tobacco use in the past 7 days.

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