A cigarette is simply tobacco rolled in paper which is then lit so it can be smoked. It burns at 600 °C, but can flare above 800 °C during a puff. Burning tobacco, like in cigarettes, creates the main sources of danger. It is the action of burning that releases most of the harmful and potentially harmful chemicals into the smoke that is inhaled. And it’s those chemicals that are the primary cause of smoking-related diseases, not nicotine itself.
Heated tobacco products, or Heat Not Burning (HNB) products, do exactly what their name suggests: they heat tobacco instead of burning it. That’s the biggest difference between them and cigarettes. By not burning tobacco, heated tobacco products don’t create smoke and their aerosols should contain fewer and lower levels of harmful chemicals compared to cigarette smoke.
A heated tobacco product comes in two main parts: the heating source, and the tobacco itself. Some heated tobacco products are electronic, but not all, and the exact temperature the tobacco is heated to varies from product to product. The important thing is that heated tobacco products avoid the high temperatures where tobacco is burnt. For our heated tobacco products Platform 1* and Platform 2, our findings show that they deliver nicotine similarly to a cigarette, but with lower levels of harmful chemicals on average.
E-cigarettes versus cigarettes: no burning, no tobacco, no smoke
Like heated tobacco products, e-cigarettes don’t create smoke because they don’t burn tobacco. In fact, they don’t even contain tobacco. They heat an e-liquid that often contains nicotine to produce an aerosol, what people usually call a vapor – hence the term “vaping”. By not burning tobacco, e-cigarettes don’t create smoke and so their aerosol should contain fewer harmful chemicals compared to cigarette smoke. Of course, each product should be tested to make sure this is indeed the case. Also worth mentioning: not all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, but the vast majority do.