What Is Heat-Not-Burn?

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“What if we could offer those who would otherwise continue smoking a less harmful way?”

Philip Morris International’s (PMI) product development is based on technologies, which produce a nicotine-containing aerosol without combustion, while continuing to deliver a satisfying experience to smokers. Experts agree that nicotine, while addictive, is not the primary cause of smoking-related diseases. It is instead the harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) found in cigarette smoke, most of which are associated with the burning of tobacco.


“What if we could offer those who would otherwise continue smoking a less harmful way?”

Philip Morris International’s (PMI) product development is based on technologies, which produce a nicotine-containing aerosol without combustion, while continuing to deliver a satisfying experience to smokers. Experts agree that nicotine, while addictive, is not the primary cause of smoking-related diseases. It is instead the harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) found in cigarette smoke, most of which are associated with the burning of tobacco.

The lit end of a cigarette can reach temperatures in excess of 1600°F. Such high temperatures cause a large number of chemical reactions to take place, which break down the tobacco into the thousands of chemicals that appear in cigarette smoke. Many of these chemicals are harmful or potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs). If the tobacco is instead heated to temperatures of around 600°F or lower, an aerosol is produced that is not the product of combustion. At these lower temperatures, many of the chemical reactions associated with combustion don’t take place. As a result, the tobacco aerosol contains significantly lower levels of HPHCs than cigarette smoke.

Each of PMI’s product platforms is designed to significantly reduce the formation of HPHCs, while replicating the taste as much as possible, nicotine delivery and ritual characteristics of cigarettes, which are important for adult smoker appeal and acceptance.

PMI’s current portfolio of candidate reduced-risk products is aimed at addressing different adult consumer preferences and includes four product platforms – two that heat tobacco instead of burning it and two that contain tobacco-derived nicotine, but no tobacco. FDA has not determined that the aerosol generated by PMI’s developmental technology presents less risk of smoking-related diseases compared to smoke generated by the burning of tobacco.

Heated Tobacco Products

IQOS Tobacco Heating System

Uses an electronically controlled heating mechanism to precisely heat a specially designed tobacco stick, at operating temperatures well below combustion, generating a nicotine-containing aerosol.

What is Heat Not Burn? - IQOS Tobacco Heating System

Carbon-Heated Tobacco Product

Uses a carbon tip heat source to precisely heat tobacco at temperatures well below combustion. A proprietary design separates the tobacco from the carbon heat source and provides an effective and controlled temperature transfer to generate a nicotine-containing aerosol similar to IQOS.

What is Heat Not Burn? - Carbon-Heated Tobacco Product (CHTP)
Uses an electronically controlled heating mechanism to precisely heat a specially designed tobacco stick, at operating temperatures well below combustion, generating a nicotine-containing aerosol.
Uses a carbon tip heat source to precisely heat tobacco at temperatures well below combustion. A proprietary design separates the tobacco from the carbon heat source and provides an effective and controlled temperature transfer to generate a nicotine-containing aerosol similar to IQOS.

Nicotine-Containing Products Without Tobacco

Nicotine Salt Product

Based on technology PMI acquired from Professor Jed Rose of Duke University and co-inventors in May 2011. This product creates an aerosol of nicotine salt formed by the chemical reaction of nicotine (a weak base) with a weak organic acid.

What is Heat Not Burn? - Nicotine Salt Product

E-Vapor Products

Battery-powered devices that contain no tobacco and instead produce an aerosol by vaporizing a liquid nicotine solution, also known as e-cigarettes. Besides current generation technology, PMI is well advanced in the development of its next generation e-vapor heating technology, which uses a metallic mesh with tiny holes to heat a pre-filled, pre-sealed e-liquid cartridge.

What is Heat Not Burn? - E-Vapor Products
Based on technology PMI acquired from Professor Jed Rose of Duke University and co-inventors in May 2011. This product creates an aerosol of nicotine salt formed by the chemical reaction of nicotine (a weak base) with a weak organic acid.
Battery-powered devices that contain no tobacco and instead produce an aerosol by vaporizing a liquid nicotine solution, also known as e-cigarettes. Besides current generation technology, PMI is well advanced in the development of its next generation e-vapor heating technology, which uses a metallic mesh with tiny holes to heat a pre-filled, pre-sealed e-liquid cartridge.

Philip Morris International’s IQOS Tobacco Heating System

What is Heat Not Burn? - How IQOS THS Works

How IQOS Works

The tobacco mixture in the tobacco stick is heated to a maximum temperature of approximately 570°F and does not result in the combustion of tobacco. By contrast, cigarettes reach temperatures of between 1110°F to 1470°F, exceeding 1650°F during puffs.

IQOS generates an aerosol, but not smoke.

The aerosol is composed mainly of water, glycerol, and other vaporized substances (including nicotine and flavors) present in the original tobacco mixture.

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