The History of IQOS Heated Tobacco Products

To understand the history of IQOS, we first have to answer the question – who owns IQOS? IQOS is a brand owned by Philip Morris International (PMI). PMI are on a mission to replace cigarettes with smoke-free alternatives as soon as possible. The best option a smoker can make is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether. However, adult smokers who want to continue using tobacco should know that not all tobacco-containing products are the same. PMI strongly believe that smoke-free products are a better option compared to continued cigarette smoking. That is why the company is transforming, and building a future on replacing cigarettes with smoke-free alternatives.

How Did Heated Tobacco Products Get Started?

The history of heated tobacco products dates back decades. The idea of heating tobacco instead of burning it has been around since the 1980’s. However, the first of the heated tobacco brands, along with their heated tobacco products, failed to offer a suitable alternative for adult smokers.

How Did IQOS Get Started as a Heated Tobacco Brand?

The first IQOS devices were released in 2014, when the innovative heat-not-burn alternative was launched in Japan and Italy. Gradually, IQOS rolled out internationally and is now available in 51 countries. 
However, the history of IQOS dates back to 2008, when Philip Morris International first started working towards providing alternatives for smoking. 
One of the top goals at PMI was to create smoke-free products for adult smokers. 
So far, there are 19.4 million IQOS users who have switched completely from cigarettes to IQOS*. And it’s no wonder! There are many reasons why adult smokers should make the switch to IQOS products. IQOS provides real tobacco taste and satisfaction, and IQOS produces no ash. Furthermore, unlike cigarettes, IQOS does not burn tobacco and therefore produces no smoke. That’s not all. Did you know IQOS emits 95% less harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes**?

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

* PMI Financials or estimates (excluding Russia and Ukraine), IQOS user panels and PMI Market Research. Status as of June 2023. IQOS users who have completely quit cigarettes and for whom PMI HeatSticks represent at least 70% of their past 7-day heated tobacco consumption. 

** “95% less” represents the average reduction in levels of the 9 chemicals recommended for reduction in cigarette smoke by the World Health Organization, which do not include nicotine. See Important Information on

IQOS Heated Tobacco Products: The Next Steps

We’ve explored the history of IQOS heated tobacco products, so what’s next for the brand?  In early September, we launched IQOS ILUMA in the UK. IQOS ILUMA is a series of heated tobacco products, comprising of the following devices:


IQOS ILUMA contains advanced features like auto-start. Enhancing your experience by detecting TEREA sticks when inserted and automatically turning on the device. 

Explore our IQOS ILUMA Discovery Page for further details on these products. You can also find out more on how the ILUMA devices compare to one another via our guide.

It’s important to note that IQOS is not risk-free and provides nicotine, which is addictive. The best decision any adult smoker can make is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether. 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.  

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By exploring and learning more about the smoke-free category - from heated tobacco products and vapes to nicotine pouches - an adult user can gather information, make informed decisions about which smoke-free alternative is right for them, and begin their smoke-free journey.​​

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For a smoke-free heated tobacco experience, it's time to switch to the new IQOS ILUMA - compatible only with new TEREA tobacco sticks.

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How are the three IQOS ILUMA series different?

Our newest heated tobacco devices feature a breakthrough induction technology to provide you with the next-level heated tobacco experience.

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Learn about heated tobacco
Learn about heated tobacco

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