Heated Tobacco: A Comprehensive Guide

Heated Tobacco: A Comprehensive Guide header

If you're a smoker, you've probably heard of heated tobacco products, also known as heat-not-burn products. But what exactly are they, and how do they compare to traditional cigarettes?

In this guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about heated tobacco products, from how they work to their potential benefits and drawbacks.

What is heated tobacco?

Heated tobacco, also known as heat-not-burn tobacco, is a type of smoking alternative that uses electronic devices to heat tobacco leaves without burning them. This produces a vapour that can be inhaled, providing a smoking experience that claims to have less harmful chemicals than those produced by traditional combustion.

How do heated tobacco devices work?

At the press of a button, a miniature oven inside the device heats specially designed tobacco sticks (also known as heatsticks) to around 350°C. This is hot enough to release the nicotine and flavour but not hot enough to cause combustion and smoke. This process is called aerosolisation, which is different from the combustion process that occurs when tobacco is burned in traditional cigarettes.

The tobacco used in heated tobacco devices is usually specially treated to be more suitable for the device, and the devices themselves are designed to be easy to use and maintain.

Anatomy of a heated tobacco device

What are heated tobacco sticks?

Heat sticks are cylindrical tobacco sticks that contain various ingredients, including tobacco, glycerin, water, and cellulose fibres. They are designed for use in heat-not-burn devices and have a complex manufacturing process involving several steps.

First, tobacco leaves are harvested and dried. Then, the leaves are finely ground into a tobacco powder and blended to provide a different or more pleasant taste.

Next, the powder is mixed with other ingredients like glycerin, water, and cellulose fibres to help form a paste. This mixture is then shaped into small sticks about the size of a cigarette, and flavours are added.

In the final part of the process, an outer casing is added to hold the sticks together, and a filter is added to the end of the stick to reduce the heat of the aerosols produced.

Anatomy of bladed and induction type heated tobacco sticks

Who are the main heated tobacco brands?


One of the most well-known heated tobacco brands is IQOS, produced by Philip Morris International. Philip Morris International is a leading tobacco company that produces a wide range of tobacco-related products, including popular cigarette brands Marlboro, Parliament, and L&M. IQOS is available in many countries and offers a range of flavours and nicotine strengths.


Japan Tobacco International entered the market with their 'Ploom' product, which is available in a few select countries, including the UK.

JTI are known here for their cigarette brands like Winston, Camel, and Silk Cut, their disposable vape brand Logic, and their Nordic Spirit Nicotine Pouches.


Another popular heated tobacco brand, GLO, is produced by British American Tobacco. GLO products are available in several countries and offer a variety of flavours. At the time of writing, the Glo products are not available in the UK but are expected.


The NEAFS brand does not strictly fall in the heated tobacco category as NEAFS sticks are 100% tobacco-free, containing plant-based cellulose infused with nicotine and flavouring instead of real tobacco. However, the NEAFS TEO kit has similar technology and uses the same heating process as devices including the IQOS Original and Ploom X Advanced heated tobacco kits, so it does have the ability to heat tobacco and is cross-compatible with a range of non-bladed tobacco sticks.

What are the most popular heated tobacco products?

IQOS Iluma One

The IQOS Iluma ONE heated tobacco device

The IQOS Iluma One device features a slim and sleek design. It heats tobacco sticks to produce a vapour, which can be inhaled by the user. The device is easy to use and can be charged quickly. It is a great option for those looking for a convenient and stylish device at a mid-price point.

IQOS Iluma Prime

The IQOS Iluma Prime heated tobacco device

The IQOS Iluma Prime is similar to the lluma One device but has a more advanced heating system that allows for more consistent and smooth vapour production. The device also features a longer battery life and faster charging time, making it an excellent option for those who use their device frequently.

IQOS Terea

TEREA Amber heated tobacco sticks for IQOS Iluma devices

IQOS Terea is a range of tobacco sticks that are compatible with Iluma devices. Terea sticks come in a variety of flavours and tobacco blends, making them a popular choice for smokers who are looking for an alternative to traditional cigarettes.

For more information on Terea flavours, please read our IQOS Terea Flavours Guide.

IQOS Heets

IQOS HEETS heated tobacco sticks for HEETS devices

IQOS Heets are tobacco sticks specifically designed for older IQOS devices, including the Originals Duo kit. They come in the same flavours as their Terea replacements. At the time of writing, they are still available for purchase but will be phased out throughout 2024/25.

For more information on Heets flavours, please read our IQOS Heets Flavours Guide.

Ploom X

Ploom X Advanced heated tobacco device

The Ploom X device uses state-of-the-art Heatflow technology to gently heat the tobacco and optimise airflow for a more authentic heated tobacco taste experience. This elegant device features intuitive design features and a powerful, long-lasting battery with a quick start-up. Despite the premium features, the Ploom X sits at a lower price point than its peers.

Ploom Evo

Ploom Evo heated tobacco sticks

Evo is Ploom's range of compatible heat sticks. Evo sticks contain a bespoke blend of micro-ground and fine-cut tobacco. They are available in various flavours, including crush-ball permutations that activate the flavour when pressed.

Is heated tobacco regulated?

Unlike cigarette manufacturing, which is largely unregulated the world over, there are manufacturing standards that must be followed by manufacturers and importers of heated tobacco products (HTPs) in the UK.

These standards are set out in the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) and include requirements for the quality and safety of the products, as well as rules on labelling and packaging.

Manufacturers and importers must also comply with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) guidelines, which ensure that products are manufactured in a consistent and controlled manner to meet quality standards. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in fines or other legal penalties.

What are the claimed benefits of heat-not-burn products?

It is claimed that heated tobacco is a better alternative to smoking. If you are thinking about switching to heated tobacco from smoking cigarettes, here are the claimed benefits:

Please note: Heated tobacco is a relatively new technology, and scientific data on its safety is still emerging. The manufacturers, not Vapourcore, have provided these benefits. It is important to be cautious and consider other sources of information when evaluating any claimed benefits and risks associated with heated tobacco products.

1. Reduced chemicals

Heat-not-burn products have fewer chemicals than traditional cigarettes because they heat tobacco instead of burning it.

This results in lower levels of harmful substances like Tar and Carbon Monoxide. Tar is one of the primary causes of smoking-related diseases like lung cancer and emphysema.

2. Lower risk to health

Studies have suggested that heat-not-burn products may be less harmful than traditional cigarettes. While they are not entirely risk-free, they are considered a better alternative to smoking.

3. Less odour

Heat-not-burn products have less of a strong, lingering odour than traditional cigarettes, which can be irritating and unpleasant for non-smokers.

4. Reduced secondhand smoke

Heat-not-burn products produce less secondhand smoke, making them a more considerate and safer option for those around you who may be sensitive to secondhand smoke.

5. Similar experience

Heat-not-burn products provide a similar experience to smoking traditional cigarettes, which can make the transition to quitting smoking easier for some people. They still deliver nicotine but with less of the harmful chemicals found in conventional cigarettes.

To learn more about the safety of heated tobacco, please read our guide on How Safe Is Heated Tobacco?

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