Does Heated Tobacco Smell?

By JC Connington

Date Published 19/10/2022

As anyone who’s ever smoked or been around somebody smoking will know, cigarette smoke smells. However, people considering switching to an alternative to smoking might want to know whether these alternatives smell – and if so, whether the smell is different.

Without a doubt, the best choice any smoker can make is to stop smoking altogether. However, for those who can’t or won’t do so, switching to an alternative is a better choice than continuing to smoke.

One alternative to smoking is heated tobacco. Heated tobacco products, like IQOS, heat real tobacco to create a vapour. They’re also often known as heat-not-burn products, as the tobacco isn’t burned like cigarettes to create smoke – this is what gives cigarettes their smell. But does heated tobacco smell at all? Just keep reading to find out.

Does IQOS smell like cigarettes?

With IQOS, there’s no cigarette smell. Unlike cigarettes, IQOS does not burn tobacco and therefore produces no smoke and no ash.

The heating process produces a vapour – or aerosol – rather than smoke, which is produced through combustion. This non-smoke aerosol is different from the cigarette smoke produced when tobacco is burned.

A cigarette burns tobacco at extremely high temperatures, up to 900°C, creating smoke. When IQOS heats tobacco, it’s at a lower controlled temperature. IQOS consists of two parts: a holder and a charger. The holder is a pen-shaped electronic device that contains a ceramic coated blade – this is designed to heat real tobacco. The tobacco is contained within a HEETS tobacco stick, which is inserted into the device and heated, so the user can inhale the aerosol released.

Many of the chemical reactions taking place through combustion don’t occur when tobacco is heated by IQOS. Along with not producing smoke, 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.

When using IQOS, the tobacco vapour dissipates more quickly than cigarette smoke, while IQOS leaves less smell on furniture and fabric than cigarettes. Not only that, but smokers who switched to IQOS say that their breath smells better than it did with cigarettes**, and IQOS has no negative impact on indoor air quality***. This is proven by air quality tests conducted in accordance with international standards.

Important information: IQOS is not risk-free.

Do IQOS HEETS smell?

HEETS produce less smell than cigarettes – as mentioned above, this is because they’re heated rather than burned to create smoke. However, different HEETS do provide different aromas – in much the same way as different types of e-liquids used in vapes can provide different smells. There are ten different variants of HEETS to choose from, some more aromatic than others.

For example, HEETS Amber has light woody and nutty aroma notes, while HEETS Sienna  has  woody and light tea aroma notes. Some HEETS have less of an aroma than others – HEETS Turquoise has  zesty aroma notes, but they’re more subtle. In comparison, the zesty aroma notes of HEETS Yellow are fuller.

To find out more about the different aromas HEETS have, you can take a look at the HEETS tobacco sticks selection here. If you’re thinking of switching to IQOS, you can arrange your IQOS Try Before You Buy home trial. Choose your bundle and device colour,  pay £10 for two packs of 20 HEETS of your choice, and experience IQOS for 14 days. At the end of the trial, you can either keep your device and pay or return it for free.  

*”95% less” represents the average reductions in levels of a range of harmful chemicals (excluding nicotine) compared to the smoke of a reference cigarettes (3R4F). See important information on

**Source: Online survey conducted by third-party research agencies in 2016 and 2017 among 3,157 IQOS users in Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Romania and Spain.

***Source: PMI study conducted under ISO standards simulating real-world scenarios and based on threshold limits established by existing air quality guidelines.

Link to story about IQOS and burning smell

Remove the Smell of Burnt Tobacco with IQOS

Read more about how IQOS removes the smell of burnt tobacco.

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Benefits of IQOS

Learn more about the benefits of the IQOS tobacco heater compared to normal cigarettes.

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Do E-Cigarettes Smell like IQOS?

 If ou’re thinking of switching from smoking cigarettes to vaping, you might be wondering whether e-cigarettes smell too.

Do E-Cigarettes Smell Like Cigarettes? | IQOS UK


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