Heat-not-burn tobacco product

A heat-not-burn tobacco product (HNB) heats tobacco to a lower temperature than when a conventional cigarette is burned.[1] The resulting smoke contains nicotine and other chemicals.[2] These products may match some of the behavioral aspects of smoking.[2]

There is no reliable evidence that these products are any less harmful than other cigarettes.[3] Some tobacco companies claim they are less harmful, but this has not been verified.[1]

Heat-not-burn products first came to market in 1988, however they were not a commercial success.[1] The ubiquitousness of electronic cigarettes and growing dissatisfaction that e-cigarettes do not provide the "throat-hit" that smokers are used to may present an opportunity for heat-not-burn tobacco products.[1] These products are currently being introduced by large tobacco companies.[4]

Health effects[edit]

Claims of lowered risk or health benefits for heat-not-burn tobacco products are based on industry-funded research, and reliable independent research is not available to support these claims.[3] No compelling evidence has been presented for the claims of lowered risk and health benefits for these products.[3] There is not enough research to evaluate their level of harm.[5] Some scientists believe that heat-not-burn tobacco products to be as dangerous as traditional cigarettes.[3]

Carlos Jiménez, director of research on smoking at the Spanish Society of Pneumonology and Thoracic Surgery stated in 2017 that these products are still harmful.[6] Action on Smoking and Health stated in 2016 that due to "the tobacco industry's long record of deceit" regarding the health risks involving smoking, it is important to conduct independent studies into the health effects of these products.[7] Marketing slogans like "heat-not-burn" cannot be a substitute for science.[8][9][not in citation given]


Steam Hot One, a Japanese variant of the Eclipse made by Japan Tobacco.
Philip Morris' Heatbar pictured without a specifically designed cigarette.

The first commercial heat-not-burn product was the R. J. Reynolds Premier,[10] a smokeless cigarette launched in 1988 and described as difficult to use.[11] Many smokers disliked the taste.[12] It was shaped like a traditional cigarette, and when heated the smoldered charcoal moved past processed tobacco containing more than 50 percent glycerin to create an aerosol of nicotine.[13] It did require some combustion.[14] In 1989,[15] after spending $325 million,[16] R. J. Reynolds pulled it from the market months later after organisations recommended to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to restrict it or classify it as a drug.[17]

The Premier product concept went on to be further developed and re-launched as Eclipse[15] in the mid-1990s,[18] and was available in limited distribution as of 2015.[19] Reynolds American stated that the Revo was a "repositioning" of its Eclipse.[20] R. J. Reynolds' Revo was withdrawn in 2015.[19]

Philip Morris International launched a cigarette in 1998 that was placed into an electronic heating device as Accord.[21] The battery-powered product was the size of a pager.[22] In 2007, Philip Morris International launched Heatbar.[23] The Heatbar was around the size of a mobile phone and heated specifically designed cigarettes, rather than burning them.[24] The only benefit was to lower second-hand smoke, which lead to Heatbar being discontinued.[25] Heatbar did not obtain any significant user reception.[26]

The ubiquitousness of electronic cigarettes and growing dissatisfaction with not providing a throat-hit may present an opportunity for heat-not-burn tobacco products.[1] These products are currently being introduced by large tobacco companies.[4] Philip Morris International anticipates a future without traditional cigarettes, but campaigners and industry analysts call into question the probability of traditional cigarettes being dissolved, by either e-cigarettes or other products like IQOS.[27]


The products use systems where tobacco is not burning, but rather tobacco constituents are heated and aerosolized.[2] They are designed to be similar their combustible counterparts.[20] A tobacco stick along with a heating element will provide the user a choice across the different heat-not-burn tobacco products available.[20] Another type of heat-not-burn tobacco product is the loose-leaf tobacco vaporizer that entails putting loose-leaf tobacco into a chamber, which is electrically heated using an element.[28]


In 2016, British American Tobacco launched a battery-powered heat-not-burn product called Glo in Japan.[31] It uses a heating element with a tobacco stick.[20] In May 2017, they released i-glo in Canada.[32] The glo iFuse debuted in Romania by British American Tobacco in 2015.[20] It uses a cartridge with a tobacco stick and a flavored nicotine liquid.[20] Bonnie Herzog, a senior analyst at Wells Fargo Securities stated that the proposed acquisition of R. J. Reynolds by British American Tobacco in 2016 would let them catch up in the technology competition.[33]


iQOS, consisting of charger, holder, and tobacco stick.
The IQOS consists of a charger, a holder and a tobacco stick.[34]

The introduction of IQOS ("I quit ordinary smoking"[8]) was announced on 26 June 2014.[35] The product is marketed by Philip Morris International under the Marlboro and Parliament brands.[36] Initially launched in 2014 in Japan and Italy, the IQOS is being gradually rolled out to other countries.[37] By the end of 2016, it was available in over twenty countries, with expansion plans into several more in 2017.[38] Philip Morris International has projected that when 30 billions units are sold, IQOS would increase profits by $700 million.[39] As of 2016, the company claimed that total investments made in the development and assessment of these products have exceeded $3 billion.[40]

The IQOS smoking device consists of a charger around the size of a mobile phone and a holder that looks like a pen.[41] The disposable tobacco stick, a short cigarette, contains processed tobacco and propylene glycol,[8][clarification needed] is inserted into the holder which then heats it to temperatures up to 350 °C.[21] The smoke released contains nicotine and other chemicals.[2] The amount of nicotine provided may be a little strong for light cigarette smokers.[42] Users have reported less smell and odour on clothing.[14] The smoke generated by IQOS contains substances from pyrolysis and thermogenic degradation that are identical to the constituents found in traditional tobacco cigarette smoke.[8] A 2017 review found "little research on what substances are released after the device heats the tobacco-based paste. The physical effects on users are also not yet known."[43]

In December 2016[failed verification], Philip Morris International submitted an application to the US Food and Drug Administration for the IQOS to be authorized as a modified risk tobacco product.[34] In 2017, according to two editors of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, after publication of a research letter describing harmful chemicals in heat-not-burn tobacco products, people from Philip Morris International contacted the institutions where the researchers worked and questioned the methods used in the study; the editors described this as a form of "pressure to suppress discourse that could harm commercial interests".[9] In December 2017, Reuters published documents and testimonies of former employees detailing irregularities in the clinical trials conducted by Philip Morris for the approval of the IQOS device by the FDA.[34] The decision of the FDA about whether the IQOS can be sold in the United States is expected by 2018.[34]

Philip Morris International intends to convert its customers to using heat-not-burn cigarettes.[44] The IQOS cigarettes are sold as an alternative to ordinary cigarettes.[45][9] Philip Morris states that the IQOS smoking device is as addictive as conventional tobacco smoking.[7] IQOS is sold with a warning that the best option is to avoid tobacco use altogether.[46]

iSmoke OneHitter[edit]

iSmoke OneHitter by iSmoke was launched in 2015.[47] It can be used as a loose-leaf tobacco vaporizer.[48] It has a chamber that can be filled with up to 800-milligrams of tobacco.[48]

Korea Tobacco & Ginseng Corporation[edit]

Korea Tobacco & Ginseng Corporation announced on 8 June 2017 they will launching a heat-not-burn tobacco product in September 2017.[49]

Pax 2[edit]

PAX Labs, formerly known as Ploom,[50] sells PAX vaporizers.[51] In 2010 they launched Ploom, a butane-powered product used for the heating tobacco or botanical products.[52] Later models replaced butane heating with an electric system.[53] After its initial partnership with Japan Tobacco was abandoned, the company became known as Pax Labs.[54] The Pax 2 uses loose-leaf tobacco.[20] The surface of the Pax 2 remains cool, while the oven heats to temperatures up to 455 °F.[55] It has four temperature options.[55]

Ploom Tech[edit]

In January 2016, Japan Tobacco released Ploom Tech.[56] Japan Tobacco's Ploom has been withdrawn from the United States.[20] The Ploom brand, however, remained with Japan Tobacco and the product itself has been replaced with a different product called Ploom Tech, in which an aerosol passes through a capsule of granulated tobacco leaves.[57] Sales are being expanded throughout Japan in 2017.[58] They intend to spend $500 million to increase their heated tobacco manufacturing capacity by late 2018.[59]

V2 Pro[edit]

V2 originally released their vaporizer line named V2 Pro in July 2014.[60] The initial product was named Series 3.[60] Series 3 comes with 3 cartridges including a loose-leaf cartridge, which heats the material by conduction.[61] It comes with a battery and USB changer, among other things.[61] Pro Series 3X also by V2 can be used with dry material.[62] It has three different air flow options that can be adjusted with a slight turn of the mouthpiece.[62] Series 7 comes with a loose-leaf cartridge, among other things.[63] Series 7 lets the user change the temperature by using a single button.[60]


In the United States, these products fall under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration.[28] As of 2016[update], 19 countries have permitted the sale of IQOS.[8] Advertisement for the IQOS, but not IQOS' tobacco stick, is not regulated under the European Union Tobacco Products Directive.[20] Heat-not-burn tobacco products are not restricted for sale in Israel by the Ministry of Health.[64] Ploom and IQOS are governed by the Tobacco Industries Act regulations as tobacco products in Japan.[65] The Liberal Democratic Party will deliberate over increasing the tax rate for heat-not-burn tobacco products in April 2018.[66] IQOS's refill sticks are not legal for sale in New Zealand by the Ministry of Health.[67] Emerging tobacco products are banned in Singapore by the Ministry of Health.[68] Electronic tobacco products using dry material are regulated as e-cigarettes in South Korea by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.[69] Korea regulates e-cigarettes differently than traditional cigarettes for tax reasons.[70] As a result, IQOS are taxed at a decreased rate, compared to the 75% incurred on normal cigarettes.[70]

Action on Smoking and Health stated in 2016 that "unless and until independent evidence shows that IQOS and similar products are substantially less harmful than smoking then these products should be regulated in the same way as other tobacco products."[7] Tobacco control activist Stanton Glantz stated that the US FDA should halt new tobacco products until tobacco companies stop selling traditional cigarettes.[71] "There is concern that heat-not-burn tobacco will skirt local ordinances that prevent smoking in public areas," Mitchell H. Katz, director of the Los Angeles County Health Agency, wrote in 2017 via email.[72]


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