Discover PMI's breakthrough heated tobacco products
Science and innovation

Heated Tobacco Products

Heating tobacco to release flavors and nicotine without combustion

While the idea of heating tobacco (instead of burning it) has been around for more than two decades, it’s only now that we have managed to find a way to heat tobacco that results in a product that is satisfying to adult smokers.

Through intensive research and development, we have managed to create two breakthrough heated tobacco products, each of which heats the tobacco in a distinct way. One product uses an electronically controlled heater, and the other uses a carbon heat source.

Holding an iQOS

Tobacco Heating System – IQOS

At the heart of IQOS are sophisticated electronics that heat specially prepared and blended tobacco. IQOS heats the tobacco just enough to release a flavorful nicotine-containing vapor but without burning the tobacco.

Here’s the key point: the tobacco in a cigarette burns at temperatures in excess of 600°C, generating smoke that contains harmful chemicals. But IQOS heats tobacco to much lower temperatures, below 350°C, without combustion, fire, ash, or smoke. The lower temperature heating releases the true taste of heated tobacco. Because the tobacco is heated and not burned, the levels of harmful chemicals are significantly reduced compared to cigarette smoke.

What is there? A nicotine-containing vapor – not smoke – that makes IQOS a smoke-free product that is appealing to smokers.

How does IQOS work?

IQOS is a tobacco heating system with three main components – a tobacco stick (called HEETS or HeatSticks), an IQOS holder, and a charger.

To use IQOS, a consumer inserts the tobacco stick into the IQOS holder. The IQOS holder contains the electronically controlled heater that heats the tobacco stick. The consumer pushes a button to turn on the heater, and then draws on the tobacco stick to enjoy the real taste of heated tobacco. Once the tobacco stick is finished, the consumer removes it from the holder, and the tobacco stick can be disposed of safely in a waste bin. When needed, the consumer recharges the holder by inserting it into the charger.


  1. The tobacco stick contains a uniquely processed tobacco plug designed for heating, not for smoking. The tobacco plug is made from tobacco leaves, which are ground and re-constituted into tobacco sheets, called cast-leaf. These sheets are then crimped and made into a tobacco plug.
  2. The holder, into which the tobacco stick is inserted, heats the tobacco in the tobacco stick via an electronically controlled heating blade. The blade simultaneously heats the tobacco to temperatures below 350°C, while monitoring its temperature to ensure a consistent taste experience and to avoid burning. It also has an over-heating protection mechanism, which turns itself off if necessary. The holder supplies heat to the tobacco stick via the heating blade for six minutes or 14 puffs, whichever comes first.
  3. After each tobacco stick experience, the small battery in the holder needs to be recharged. The charger houses a bigger battery that stores enough energy to recharge the holder approximately 20 times and can be recharged from household power sockets.
iQOS box

Where is IQOS available?

IQOS is currently available in Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom, and in some Duty Free shops. Over two million consumers have already chosen to switch to IQOS from cigarettes. We plan to make IQOS available in key cities in over 30 countries by the end of 2017.

Carbon-Heated Tobacco Product – TEEPS

IQOS heats tobacco using an electronically controlled heating blade. Another way to extract tobacco flavors and nicotine from tobacco leaves, is to use an alternative source of heat. We have developed a new carbon-heated tobacco product called TEEPS.

Platform 2: TEEPS

How does TEEPS work?

TEEPS has a look and feel similar to a cigarette, but it is not a cigarette. The carbon heat source at the end of TEEPS is ignited. This lights the carbon heat source, which supplies the energy used to heat, not burn, the tobacco. 

Once the carbon heat source is lit, heat is transferred to a uniquely processed tobacco plug, designed for heating and not for smoking. The patented design of TEEPS prevents tobacco from burning. The consumer puffs on TEEPS to inhale a flavorful nicotine-containing vapor until the end of the experience.

Similar to IQOS, TEEPS heats tobacco to release its true taste. Because the tobacco is heated and not burned, the level of harmful chemicals is significantly reduced compared to cigarette smoke.

We intend to conduct a city test of this platform in 2017.

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