Does Heated Tobacco Have Risks?

Heated tobacco could be less of a risk for adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke. However, the precise risks of tobacco usage from these devices will depend on the product in question. Through heating tobacco (rather than burning it via heat not burn technology), these products emit less harmful chemicals than cigarettes. You can learn more about one of these substances – carbon monoxide - with our article on Carbon Monoxide Levels: Cigarettes vs Heated Tobacco

It’s important to note that the presence of nicotine and other chemicals within heated tobacco products means they are addictive and not risk-free. However, contrary to common belief, nicotine is not the primary cause for concern with smoking cigarettes. The harmful substances produced by burning tobacco are. That means, for adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke, innovative heated tobacco devices could be a better option to switch to. Moreover, heated tobacco may be less likely to bother people around you, especially in the case of alternatives like IQOS ILUMA – our latest series of heated tobacco devices. As IQOS ILUMA produces less smell than cigarettes, it is less likely to bother people around you.*

* 85% agreement amongst 674 adult consumers in Japan and Italy, 2020 – 2021. 

Tar in Cigarettes vs Heated Tobacco Products

Cigarettes produce tar - IQOS ILUMA doesn’t. Tar is the residue from smoke after a cigarette is burned. IQOS ILUMA does not produce tar because it heats tobacco instead of burning it. It generates an aerosol residue that is fundamentally different from tar and consists of significantly lower levels of harmful chemicals.* Switching completely to IQOS ILUMA is less harmful than continuing to smoke.**

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: The absence of tar does not mean that IQOS ILUMA is risk free. IQOS ILUMA provides nicotine which is addictive.

* Reductions in levels of the 9 harmful chemicals the World Health Organization recommends to reduce in cigarette smoke, which do not include nicotine.

** Based on the totality of evidence available for IQOS in comparison with continuing to smoke. See Important Information on

Is IQOS Better Than Cigarettes?

For those that decide not to quit tobacco or nicotine altogether, using heated tobacco, such as IQOS, is a better choice than continued smoking. Unlike cigarettes, IQOS ILUMA does not burn tobacco and therefore produces no smoke. IQOS ILUMA Smartcore Induction Technology heats tobacco instead of burning it to deliver the taste of real tobacco. 

Important information: IQOS ILUMA is not risk-free.

In fact, IQOS ILUMA emits on average 95% lower levels of harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes.*  

Important information: This does not necessarily equal a 95% reduction in risk. IQOS ILUMA is not risk-free.

* Reductions in levels of the 9 harmful chemicals the World Health Organization recommends to reduce in cigarette smoke, which do not include nicotine. See Important Information on

What More Can I Expect From Heated Tobacco Products Like IQOS ILUMA?

Beside emitting significantly less harmful chemicals, heated tobacco products in the IQOS ILUMA series offer many other noteworthy features. One of these being that IQOS ILUMA uses induction heating technology, heating tobacco from the inside, helping to provide a cleaner and more consistent experience compared to previous IQOS models.

As an adult smoker moving over from cigarettes, you might also be wondering how using a device that requires charging will impact the switch. In this regard, IQOS ILUMA battery can last up to a full day*.

 * Depends on personal consumption. Battery performance may vary over time.

In addition to this, IQOS ILUMA will not stain your fingers. What’s more, IQOS ILUMA will leave significantly less staining on your curtains and furniture than cigarette smoke.

Discover more about IQOS ILUMA and its compatible TEREA sticks. When buying TEREA sticks, please note that these are designed to be used exclusively with IQOS ILUMA devices. To explore all IQOS products, head to our online heated tobacco shop.

If you’re using an older generation of IQOS – such as IQOS ORIGINALS – you’ll need to use a different type of heated tobacco stick. IQOS ORIGINALS use HEETS sticks, which are available in a range of variants. Discover the selection of HEETS tobacco sticks online. 

Heated Tobacco Risks vs Vaping

While this guide has focused primarily on the risks of tobacco in heated tobacco products, there are also tobacco-free alternatives to cigarettes that may be worth considering. Vaping products like VEEV NOW – our latest disposable vape - are a smoke-free alternative to continued smoking. It emits on average 99% lower levels of harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes.* 

Important information: this does not necessarily equal a 99% reduction in risk. VEEV NOW is not risk-free.

* 99% less represents the average reductions in levels of a range of harmful chemicals (excluding nicotine) compared to the smoke of a reference cigarette. See Important Information on

VEEV NOW uses high quality liquids, together with pre-charged certified battery. Moreover, VEEV NOW does not produce smoke. Instead, VEEV NOW produces a vapour that is not smoke.

Shop VEEV NOW today and learn more about this smoke-free alternative. 

VEEV NOW and IQOS products – including but not limited to all those discussed throughout this guide - are not risk-free and provide nicotine, which is addictive. The best decision any adult smoker can make is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether. VEEV NOW and IQOS products are not alternatives to quitting and are not designed as cessation aids.  

This article is for general information and educational purposes. Some of the information in this article is based on external, third-party sources and we make no representations or warranties of any kind regarding the accuracy, validity or completeness of such information.