Aug 17, 2020

What is heated tobacco?

The idea of heating tobacco instead of burning it has been around for some time. After years of research and development at Philip Morris International (PMI), it finally came to life, offering our innovative alternative to traditional cigarettes for adults who would otherwise continue to smoke or use other nicotine products.


A cigarette has to be lit in order to be smoked. It burns at 600°C at the tip of the cigarette, but can reach above 800°C during a puff. It is the action of burning that releases most of the harmful and potentially harmful chemicals into the smoke that is inhaled by a smoker.

On the contrary, PMI’s heat-not-burn device IQOS heats up processed tobacco at temperatures of up to 350°C, releasing tobacco flavor with no fire, no ash, and no cigarette smoke smell. By heating instead of burning the tobacco, the IQOS tobacco heating system doesn’t create smoke and emits on average 95% lower levels of harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes1. It is important to say that it does not necessarily equal a 95% reduction in risk and IQOS is not risk-free.

Another advantage of IQOS is that since it produces less smell than cigarettes, it is less likely to bother people around you.

IQOS HeatControl Technology in action

What are heated tobacco products?

Heated tobacco products, or heat-not-burn products, do exactly what their name suggests: they heat tobacco instead of burning it.

There are many heat-not-burn products out there, but IQOS is the brand with the number one heated tobacco product in the world2. Equipped with innovative HeatControl™ Technology, IQOS heats tobacco up to 350°C without burning it. This delivers a high quality tobacco experience, without any fire or ash and with less lingering smell on your hands, hair and clothes than cigarettes.

IQOS heat-not-burn devices

Currently, there are three IQOS devices available in two different versions. The first version has two main components – a holder and a charger. The second type of device is an integrated, all-in-one device which combines the holder and the charger. IQOS is for adults who would otherwise continue to smoke or use other nicotine products.

IQOS models in comparison

Within the first category is our most advanced IQOS device yet, the IQOS 3 DUO. The IQOS 3 DUO holder provides two consecutive tobacco experiences without the need to recharge the holder and 20 tobacco experiences overall before the need to recharge the pocket charger; it’s equipped with our fastest charging holder to date (only 1 minute and 50 seconds to the first use) and comes with over 1000 customization options thanks to our wide range of IQOS accessories.

The third IQOS device, the IQOS 3 Multi, is an integrated product that combines the holder and charger. The all-in-one pocket size device offers 10 back-to-back HEETS experiences before needing to recharge. It’s lightweight and portable with a wide range of customization options which help IQOS legal age users make it uniquely theirs.

The IQOS 2.4 Plus is our classic, yet revolutionary heat-not-burn device. It features an intuitive, user-friendly design and offers 20 tobacco experiences in one charge of the pocket charger.

How do IQOS heat-not-burn devices work?

All IQOS heat-not-burn devices work in the same way: first, insert the HEETS stick into the holder. Next, push a button to turn on the heater and then draw on the heated tobacco stick. Once the HEETS stick is finished, simply remove it from the holder and dispose of it.

Compare all IQOS devices

Our commitment to high quality

Providing IQOS legal age users with a high quality tobacco experience is our key focus and the way we prepare tobacco is what makes the difference. The tobacco inside every HEETS is specially prepared using a unique patented processing method called ‘cast leave process,’ necessary to optimize the tobacco for heating. In this process, tobacco leaves of the highest quality are grounded into powder and then reconstituted into tobacco sheets. These sheets are crimped and made into a tobacco plug which, when combined with all the other parts, creates a HEETS stick.

HEETS tobacco sticks for IQOS devices provide taste experience close to a cigarette and come in different tobacco flavors ranging from rich to refined, aromatic and fine. We’re sure that among our HEETS selection each IQOS legal age user will discover the HEETS flavor that matches their taste.

Average reductions in levels of a range of harmful chemicals (excluding nicotine) compared to the smoke of a reference cigarette (3R4F).

Source: PMI global estimate of total In-Market Sales of Heated Tobacco Units as of December 2019 (excluding China and US).

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