The term “vapor” is commonly used by consumers to refer to the aerosol generated from better alternatives to smoking, such as heated tobacco products or e-vapor products (also known as vapes or e-cigarettes).

Cigarettes generate a smoke aerosol that is the result of tobacco combustion, and this aerosol contains solid particles.

However, heated tobacco products and vapes are fundamentally different from cigarettes. These better alternatives to smoking release a vapor that—unlike smoke (which is created when a cigarette is burned)—does not contain solid particles. The vapor is created by either by heating tobacco or an e-liquid (also known as vape juice). The vapor produced contains significantly lower levels of harmful chemicals compared to what is produced by a burning cigarette.*

*Importantly, smoke-free products are addictive and are not risk-free, but they represent a much better choice for adults than continued smoking.

The difference between cigarette smoke and smoke-free product vapor



The difference between cigarette smoke and smoke-free product vapor

You may have noticed a white cloud that comes from using a smoke-free alternative.

But is it the same as smoke?

The Simple Answer?

The simple answer is no.

Cigarette smoke and smoke-free product vapor are fundamentally different.

Let's take a look at what sets them apart.

Cigarette Smoke

Cigarette smoke is produced when tobacco is burned.

The smoke contains solid particles.

It also has high levels of harmful chemicals, many of which are considered the main cause of smoking related diseases.


On the other hand, vapor is produced when a user activates a smoke free product like an e-cigarette or a heated tobacco device, by inhaling.

It's not smoke because there is no burning involved and it doesn't contain solid particles.

It should contain much lower levels of harmful chemicals compared to cigarette smoke.

Why does this matter?

Because recognizing the fundamental difference between cigarettes and smoke-free alternatives would be a significant step toward a future without cigarettes.

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