Creating less-harmful alternatives to cigarettes
We have developed alternative products to cigarettes, which contain nicotine and offer a satisfactory taste to existing smokers, but without the smoke. We’ve focused on two ways to do that, both of which eliminate the burning (combustion) of tobacco.
The first is to heat tobacco to generate a flavorful nicotine-containing vapor. The other way is to produce a nicotine-containing vapor without using tobacco. Both methods significantly reduce the levels of harmful chemicals compared to cigarette smoke. And this is just the beginning.
Heated tobacco products
Through intensive research and development, we have managed to create two breakthrough heated tobacco products: IQOS, and TEEPS. Each of them heats tobacco in a distinct way.
Thanks to sophisticated electronics, IQOS heats specially prepared and blended tobacco to below the level of combustion, meaning no fire, ash, or smoke. This generates a flavorful nicotine-containing vapor, releasing the true taste of heated tobacco. Since there is no burning process, the levels of harmful chemicals are significantly reduced compared to cigarette smoke. This is what makes IQOS a smoke-free product that is appealing to adult smokers, with 18.5 million consumers globally having switched to IQOS and stopped smoking.
The IQOS heating system is available in two versions. The first one works with three main components, a tobacco stick (called HEETS or HeatSticks), an IQOS holder, and a charger. The second version combines the holder and charger into a single unit and allows for multiple consecutive uses. Both operate in the same way: the consumer simply inserts the tobacco stick inside the holder, where it is heated up by an electronic heating blade. The consumer then draws on the tobacco stick. Once it is finished, the consumer removes the stick from the holder, and it can be disposed of safely in a waste bin. When needed, the consumer recharges the holder by inserting it into the charger.
Similar to IQOS, TEEPS heats tobacco to release its true taste. But TEEPS uses an alternative source of heat to extract tobacco flavors and nicotine from tobacco leaves: it is carbon-heated and has a look and feel similar to a cigarette, without being one. The carbon heat source at the end of TEEPS is ignited. Heat is then transferred to a uniquely processed tobacco plug. The consumer puffs on TEEPS to inhale a flavorful nicotine-containing vapor until the end of the experience. The patented design of TEEPS prevents tobacco from burning.
Products without tobacco
We are also developing two product platforms that contain nicotine but not tobacco, both of them using nicotine extracted from tobacco leaves. These tobacco-free products produce a nicotine-containing vapor in distinctly different ways.
One product platform heats an e-liquid containing nicotine and flavors with an electric heater to generate an e-vapor. This platform includes e-cigarette products such as Vivid Nicocig available in the U.K. It also includes IQOS VEEV, our next-generation e-vapor product.
The IQOS VEEV MESH heating technology uses a metallic mesh with tiny holes to heat a pre-filled, pre-sealed e-liquid cap (called VEEV) that contains pharmaceutical-grade nicotine and flavors to generate a vapor. In each VEEV cap, there is a new MESH heater, eliminating the need to manually replace it. IQOS VEEV also features puff-activated heating and a low-liquid level detection system that ensures the consistency and quality of the vapor generated and inhaled. These improvements address the current concerns of adult vapors in relation to quality, safety, consistency, and origin of the e-liquid. Our new vaporization technology, along with seven new unique e-liquid flavor offers, is currently available in the U.K.
The other product platform is developed based on technology that we acquired in 2011. Products in this category replicate the feel and ritual of smoking without tobacco and without burning. STEEM, unlike an e-cigarette, generates a nicotine-containing vapor in the form of a nicotine salt. When a consumer draws on the mouthpiece, a chemical reaction between nicotine (a weak base) and a weak organic acid takes place to produce a vapor containing nicotine salt.