2022/01/25

IQOS vs E-Cigarettes: What's the difference?

IQOS heated tobacco devices and e-cigarettes are both smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes for adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke or use other nicotine products.

Both are electronic devices, and do not generate smoke like cigarettes. But there is one feature that distinguishes IQOS tobacco heating system from e-cigarettes: Contrary to vaporizing an e-liquid, IQOS heats real tobacco, producing tobacco vapor.

IQOS heated tobacco devices uses HEETS tobacco sticks that have real tobacco which is carefully selected, finely grounded and compressed to ensure consistency in the taste delivery.

What are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are electronic hand-held devices that are smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes. In general, they are powered by a battery and heat e-liquids in order to generate an aerosol or what some users call vapor. The e-liquids contain nicotine.

How do E-Cigarettes work?

There are many types of e-cigarettes. They different in size, power, customization options, and even their ability to be reusable or disposable. However, most of them work on the same principle and with similar components.

The principle:

E-cigarettes heat and vaporize e-liquids in a wide range of temperature. They achieve this by drawing the liquid from a tank and putting it in contact with a battery powered heating element. When the liquid is evaporated it is drawn from the device through a mouthpiece.

The components:

The battery - The energy source for the whole device. In most cases it is rechargeable and provides power to the heating element and electronic components.
The tank - The container that is used to store the liquid. Some e-cigarettes use capsules or pods that are disposable.
The e-liquid - The mixture that is vaporized inside the e-cigarette. While there are many variants of the liquids, they usually contain propylene glycol, glycerin, sometimes nicotine, and various additives.
The heater - The set of components that draw the liquid toward the heating element and heat to vaporize.
The mouthpiece - The chamber or channel where the vaporized liquid drawn from the device.

What is IQOS?

IQOS is a heated tobacco device developed by Philip Morris International which uses HeatControl™ Technology. This type of tobacco heating technology is often called "heat-not-burn", because it heats tobacco instead of burning it, which is what happens with cigarettes. Tobacco sticks, called HEETS, are inserted onto a ceramic blade in the IQOS device, which heats the tobacco from the inside. The result is a form of smoking which has no burn, ashes or cigarette smoke. Compared to cigarettes IQOS heats tobacco instead of burning it, which doesn’t emit an upleasent cigarette smoke, makes it less annoying for adult users and people around them.

IQOS is not risk free, it emits 95% less harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes*

Important information: It does not necessarily equal a 95% reduction in risk. IQOS is not risk-free.*


Currently there are several different IQOS heated tobacco devices available such as, IQOS 2.4 Plus, IQOS 3 DUO. Some IQOS devices have a separate holder and charger, while others have those components integrated as an all-in-one device. These different options allow IQOS adult users to select the best which suits their needs.


* ”95% less” represents the average reductions in levels of a range of harmful chemicals (excluding nicotine) compared to the smoke of a reference cigarette. See Important Information on IQOS.com

Other important information

Why should I download the IQOS application?
Read more
Is IQOS a Vape?
Read more
How Heated Tobacco Devices Work?
Read more
E-Cigarette Liquid vs. HEETS Tobacco Sticks
Read more