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Heated tobacco vs e-cigarettes: what’s different?

Tobacco heating devices and electronic cigarettes are both alternatives to smoking. Learn about the differences between the two.

The first time you heard of tobacco heating devices, did you perhaps think that they were the same thing as electronic cigarettes? While both products are electronic, smoke-free alternatives for legal-aged smokers, there are some key differences to be aware of when making a choice between IQOS and e-cigarettes.

What are e-cigarettes or electronic cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes are one type of alternative to smoking. They are handheld devices that come in various sizes, with customization options. Some e-cigarettes are disposable, while others can be reused. In general, e-cigarettes heat e-liquids in order to generate an aerosol, also called a vapor. Those adults who use e-cigarettes also use the e-liquids, which come in various flavors, and may contain nicotine.

Electronic cigarettes heat and vaporize e-liquids between a wide range of temperatures – it could be anywhere from 100 degrees C to 250 degrees C. The e-liquid is drawn from the tank of the e-cigarette and put into contact with a battery powered heating component. Heating the liquid makes it evaporate, and when that happens, it can be drawn from the device through a mouthpiece.

What is IQOS Tobacco Heating Device

IQOS is a tobacco heating device developed by Philip Morris International that uses an innovative tobacco heating system called HeatControl Technology. This type of tobacco heating technology is often called “heat-not-burn”, because it heats tobacco instead of burning it – which is what happens with cigarettes.

Heating tobacco instead of burning it is the most crucial part of what makes IQOS an alternative to continued smoking. With IQOS, a tobacco stick called HEETS, which is made of real, processed tobacco, is inserted into the IQOS holder and onto a heating blade, with a heating temperature controlled to reach a specific temperature. This heats the tobacco from the inside of the tobacco stick, releasing tobacco flavor with no fire, no ash, and no smoke.

Heated Tobacco vs. E-cigarettes

So, if you are an adult who would otherwise continue to smoke or use other nicotine products looking for an alternative to smoking cigarettes, how do you choose between IQOS vs. e-cigarettes? While they are both electronic alternatives to smoking, the key differentiator between the two is this: IQOS’s tobacco heating system heats processed tobacco, while e-cigarettes vaporize an e-liquid. Because of this difference, IQOS heated tobacco allows for the taste delivery and experience and provides cigarette-like satisfaction1 that is familiar for adult smokers.

Explore IQOS tobacco heating devices



1Source 3 month clinical studies conducted in US and Japan with 160 adult smokers each under real conditions (ambulatory).

This product is not risk free and provides nicotine, which is addictive. Only for use by adults.