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Why is IQOS not an e-cigarette?

IQOS is an electronic device, and it’s an alternative to
smoking. So why is it not considered an e-cigarette? In
short, it’s because e-cigarettes heats nicotine liquid, whilst
IQOS heats tobacco. So the correct categorization of IQOS
is actually “Heat-not-burn” products.

Sorry, we know, it’s not so catchy. But you asked!


The difference between




Vaporizes e-liquid

Heats tobacco


Uses real tobacco


Nicotine naturally
Present in tobacco


No ash, no smoke


No tobacco


Nicotine derived from
tobacco added
in e-liquid


No ash, no smoke

IQOS heated tobacco (heat-not-burn) vs. e-cigarettes

Why many mistake them for being the same thing

They might look they same, but don’t judge a book by its cover. Both are electronic devices, and do not generate smoke like cigarettes. Both are smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes for adults, who would otherwise continue to smoke or use other nicotine products. They have one other important basic characteristic in common: they work with electric heating - unlike ordinary cigarettes that burn tobacco. The primary benefit of this is that the e-cigarette steam and heated tobacco have significantly lower levels of toxins than the cigarette smoke. Whether you choose e-cigarettes or IQOS as a better alternative is up to you. Both are technically sophisticated, easy to use and safe to use. Read more about IQOS and e-cigarettes.

The important differences between the two ways

IQOS heats real tobacco and the nicotine occurs naturally in that nicotine. This tobacco is carefully selected, finely ground and compressed to ensure consistent taste delivery and satisfaction. E-cigarettes use e-liquids. Nicotine derived from tobacco is added to that liquid. The device heats and vaporizes the liquid.

Choice between IQOS or e-cigarettes? In principle, there is no alternative to smoking that is "best". As a smoker, you should agree with yourself what best supports your preferences and needs, and as an outcome of that take the decision to switch to a better alternative such as e-cigarettes or heated tobacco with IQOS.

What are e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are electronic hand-held devices that are smoke-free alternative 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 may have various flavors and may contain nicotine.

How do E-Cigarettes work?

There are many types of e-cigarettes. They differ 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 from 100 ⁰C - 250 ⁰C. 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 thorough a mouthpiece.

The components:

  • The energy source for the whole device. In most cases it is rechargeable and provides power to the heating element and electronic components.

  • The container that is used to store the liquid until It Is taken to the heating element or chamber. Some e-cigarettes use capsules or pods that are disposable.

  • The mixture that is vaporized inside the e-cigarette. While there are many variants of the liquids, they usually contain propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, flavorings and various additives.

  • The set of components that draw the liquid toward the heating element and heat to vaporize. Most e-cigarettes use a “wick and coil” system. The wick naturally soaks the liquid and puts It In contact with the metal coil which is the part that heats.

  • Control the heating and operation of the device. They range from simple push to activate buttons, LEDs, battery Indicators or to advanced flow sensors.

  • The chamber or channel where the vaporized liquid drawn from the device.

Without question, the best decision any smoker can make Is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether. While not risk free, e-cigarette is a smoke-free alternative for adults who would otherwise continue to smoke or use other nicotine products.

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You must be 18 or over to access materials on this site contains information about our smoke-free products and we need your age to make sure that you are an adult in Denmark, who would otherwise continue to smoke or use nicotine products. Our nicotine and tobacco products are not an alternative to quitting and are not designed as cessation aids. They are not risk free. They contain nicotine, which is addictive. Only for use by adults. Please visit the Important Information page on for further risk information.