Nov 10, 2020
Adult smokers today have the option of exploring different experiences than smoking cigarettes.
What are the different options for smoke-free alternatives?
Two of the main groups of smoking alternatives available in Austria are: heated tobacco, or “Heat-Not-Burn” products, and e-cigarettes.
1. Heated tobacco products as a smoke-free alternative
Heated tobacco, or “Heat-Not-Burn” devices are smoke-free alternatives. Heated tobacco devices utilize specially designed tobacco sticks. The tobacco sticks are then inserted into the device, where innovative technologies heat the tobacco to specific temperatures, but never high enough to cause the tobacco to burn. As with e-cigarettes, there is also no smoke produced with heated tobacco. Some Heat-Not-Burn devices utilize an external heating source, meaning the tobacco stick is heated all the way around, from the outside. In this instance, the tobacco is not heated first; rather, the paper around the tobacco stick is heated first. Other Heat-Not-Burn devices, such as IQOS, contain a ceramic blade. A designated tobacco stick is inserted directly onto the blade, and the blade heats the tobacco directly from the core. This allows the tobacco to be heated first, before the paper.
2. E-cigarettes (electronic cigarettes) as a smoke-free alternative
E-cigarettes are another kind of smoking alternative, but they do not utilize real tobacco. They are electronic products that heat and vaporize e-liquids instead, in a wide range of temperatures, from 150° C to 250° C. Most utilize a system called “wick & coil”, where the wick draws the e-liquid, which contains flavors and partially nicotine, onto a coil element to heat it and create a vapor. The vapor is drawn from the device through a mouthpiece. There is no smoke.
E-cigarettes are also sometimes called “vapes” or “vaping systems”. Some of these have an open tank system that is fully customizable. Other e-cigarettes have closed vaping systems, where they are either single-use, rechargeable, or contain cartridges.
How are smoke-free alternatives different than smoking cigarettes?
The main difference between alternatives like e-cigarettes or heated tobacco and smoking cigarettes lies in exactly what makes the alternatives “smoke-free”: it is due to a lack of combustion – or burning of the tobacco.
Cigarettes must be lit to be smoked, and lighting a cigarette causes combustion. The lit end of cigarettes can reach temperatures around and above 600 degrees C, causing the tobacco to burn, and it is known that the majority of harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke comes from this combustion.
On the other hand, smoke-free alternatives like e-cigarettes and heated tobacco eliminate combustion all together. With e-cigarettes, there is no tobacco involved, and therefore, no burning. With heated tobacco products, the tobacco sticks used in these devices are heated to specific temperatures without burning it. For example, IQOS heats tobacco to temperatures up to 350° C. As a result, no smoke is produced, only a tobacco vapor. With the burning removed, IQOS emits on average 95% less harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes*. However, it does not necessarily equal a 95% reduction in risk. IQOS is not risk-free.
The elimination of combustion in smoke-free alternatives also come with other benefits compared to smoking cigarettes – IQOS produces no ash and does not produce smoke. Without a lit end, IQOS has no risk of burning others around you, clothes, or furniture.
All these reasons make IQOS a better alternative for adult smokers.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: IQOS IS NOT RISK-FREE.
* Average reduction in the concentration of individual harmful substances (9 out of the so-called "priority toxicants“ identified by the WHO) in IQOS compared to the smoke of a representative selection of cigarettes (3R4F); recorded with the Intense Smoking Regime of Health Canada without taking nicotine into account.