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Our Tobacco Heating System


Tobacco meets technology


While the idea of heating tobacco (instead of burning it) has been around for more than two decades, it took years of research and development to create a product that is acceptable to adult consumers. Around 14 million consumers have already chosen to switch to this product: our tobacco heating system IQOS (THS), and stopped smoking.

At the heart of THS are sophisticated electronics that heat specially designed heated tobacco units. THS heats the tobacco just enough to release a nicotine-containing tobacco 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 high levels of harmful chemicals. But THS heats tobacco to much lower temperatures, up to 350 °C, without combustion, fire, ash, or smoke. And because the tobacco is heated and not burned, the levels of harmful chemicals are significantly reduced compared to cigarette smoke. However, THS is not risk-free and delivers nicotine, which is addictive.

How does a tobacco heating system work?

THS is a tobacco heating system available in two versions. The first has three main components—a heated tobacco unit (called HEETS or HeatSticks), a holder, and a charger. The second is an integrated product that combines the holder and charger and allows multiple uses without recharging the battery.

Both work in the same way: a consumer inserts the heated tobacco unit into the holder, which contains an electronically controlled heater.

The consumer pushes a button to turn on the heater, and then draws on the heated tobacco unit to inhale a nicotine-containing tobacco vapor. Once the heated tobacco unit is finished, the consumer removes it from the holder, and then it can be disposed of in a waste bin.

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  1. The heated tobacco unit contains a uniquely processed tobacco plug designed for heating, not for smoking. The tobacco plug is made from tobacco leaves, which are ground and reconstituted into tobacco sheets, called cast-leaf. These sheets are then crimped and made into a tobacco plug.
  2. The holder, into which the heated tobacco unit is inserted, heats the tobacco via an electronically controlled heating blade. The blade simultaneously heats the tobacco to temperatures up to 350 °C, while monitoring its temperature to ensure consistent taste and to avoid burning. It also has an over-heating protection mechanism, which turns itself off if necessary. The holder supplies heat to the heated tobacco unit via the heating blade for six minutes or 14 puffs, whichever comes first.
  3. After each use of a heated tobacco unit with the original three-component heating system, the small battery in the holder needs to be recharged by inserting it into the charger. The IQOS DUO allows a second use before recharging and the IQOS Multi can be used up to 10 times before recharging. The chargers can be recharged from household power sockets. 

Where is IQOS available?

IQOS map Q1 2021

THS has been launched in key cities in Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Aruba, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Canary Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Italy, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kuwait, La Réunion, Lebanon, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, the Maldives, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Palestine, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the U.S., and in some Duty Free shops.

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