Often lumped together with vaping devices, an IQOS device – to be clear – isn’t a vape device but, it’s fair to say, does exist in the same universe. First of all, it’s worth noting that all IQOS devices are designed to enable people (frankly, would-be ex-smokers or actual ex-smokers) to still get their fill of tobacco but without have to do so by smoking – and so not get all the hugely harmful chemicals that are also delivered by toxic tobacco cigarettes.
That’s hardly surprising, really, given the fact IQOS devices and the tobacco they allow people to enjoy are manufactured by one of the world’s biggest cigarette companies, Switzerland-based Philip Morris International (PMI).
Available since 2014, the IQOS has done a good job, in conjunction with the vaping phenomenon, of significantly reducing smoking sales across the world, not least in Japan, where IQOS has been very readily received – it’s fair to say, too, of course that IQOS UK has been well received on these shores.
What exactly is an IQOS device?
Using battery power, IQOS devices generate and concentrate heat on a cigarette-style tube of tobacco that, combining with a vegetable glycerin ingredient, produces a vapour. So, despite the ciggie-like tobacco element and the production of vapour, the IQOS and its use certainly isn’t smoking – although definitely a similar experience – but it’s not vaping, either. In short, it falls somewhere between both things, which is precisely why it’s become so popular among (would-be) ex-smokers.
An IQOS device is essentially made up of three different parts – the device itself, the disposable, insertable tobacco-comprising heat-sticks (HEETS) and a pocket charger. To be clear, a heat-stick comprises not just tobacco but nicotine, vegetable glycerin and flavourings.
Once inserted, a heat-stick is heated by the device to the exact temperature required for its tobacco to not combust (and therefore not expose the user to the sort of health hazards smoking does), but to vaporise. This ensures the vapour emitted is like that a portable cannabis vaporiser like a PAX or Firefly produces – speaking of the likes of these devices, it’s worth noting, too, that CBD HEETS are available for IQOS devices.
How to use an IQOS device?
First up, before use, the device requires charging in its charging case for four minutes – and will require charging after each subsequent, substantial use. Following this, a HEET stick (purchasable as part of a pack of 20) can be inserted and, after 20 seconds, the device ought to light up and vibrate; letting you know it’s good to go. You can now enjoy a total of 14 drags or as many drags as you want in a total six minutes.
After this, the above process can be repeated – and you can enjoy the cigarette-smoking-like experience over and again via your device and IQOS HEETS online. It’s worth pointing out, too, that, like vape pens, e-cigs, pods and mods, an IQOS device won’t emit any vapour unless the user actually pulls on it for a drag but, unlike a vaping experience, using an IQOS feels for many people more like smoking an actual cigarette, owing to tobacco-containing HEET sticks tasting more like a real tobacco ciggie.
Maintenance-wise, you’re advised to clean the IQOS device after 20 uses (or after you’ve gone through an entire pack of HEETS). Moreover, it’s worth bearing in mind that, given the device and its pocket charger both contain lithium-ion batteries, they each have natural lifetimes, ensuring that they’ll lose capacity and require replacing, at some point in the future.