Debunking myths around smoke-free alternatives
As more smoke-free alternatives come onto the market, and adult smokers are presented with more options for switching from continued smoking, there are also some myths around these products. Sometimes a myth may come from a lack of understanding, and sometimes it may be driven by misinformation. Today, we will try to debunk the most common myths, and provide adult smokers with the answers to commonly asked questions about smoke-free alternatives.
What are smoke-free alternatives?
Smoke-free alternatives are a category of product for adults who would otherwise continue to smoke or use nicotine products. As the name implies, smoke-free alternatives do not generate smoke. This means that, unlike cigarettes, these should not burn tobacco. Smoke-free products are not risk-free and provide nicotine, which is addictive.
Smoke-free alternatives are considered a non-combustible alternative to cigarettes for adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke, as no smoke means potentially less harmful chemicals likely to be released. The reduction in formation of harmful chemicals with smoke-free alternatives should be substantiated on a product-by-product basis. Even so, the best decision any smoker can make is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether.
What is heated tobacco?
Cigarettes must burn in order to be smoked, and the tip of a cigarette can reach hundreds of degrees when lit. This causes harmful and potentially harmful chemicals to be released in the resulting smoke, which is inhaled by the smoker. There are more than 6,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, parts of which are harmful or potentially harmful. About 100 of these are linked to smoking-related diseases.
One of the most recent innovations in smoke-free alternatives, heated tobacco products, allows for tobacco enjoyment without the need for burning. Heated tobacco products are designed to heat tobacco to precise temperatures, preventing combustion or burning, and instead releasing the flavor of heated tobacco, without fire, ash or smoke.
Learn more about heated tobacco.
What is vaping, and what is an e cigarette?
E cigarettes - also called e cigs or vapes - are a type of smoke-free alternative that may be well-recognized among adult smokers and users. Vapes are handheld, battery-powered devices that come in various sizes, with many customization options. Some e cigarettes are disposable, while others can be reused. Some may look like cigarettes, others resemble cigars, or pens, and others are much larger, boxier designs.
In general, e cigarettes work by heating and vaporizing e liquids that contain flavor and nicotine. Heating to a specific temperature causes the e liquid to evaporate and generate an aerosol, which is inhaled by the adult user.
What is chewing tobacco?
Chewing tobacco, also referred to as oral tobacco or spit tobacco, is a smoke-free alternative that usually comes in the form of loose leaves, plugs or twists of coarsely chopped, dried tobacco which may also be flavored.
What is snuff?
Snuff, also referred to as dipping tobacco, is usually made of loose, dried, finely pulverized tobacco, and can come in different scents and flavors. Typically packed in tins or cans, dried snuff is inhaled through the nose, and moist snuff can be placed in the lower lip and gum to absorb nicotine. Like chewing tobacco, excess saliva is spat out.
What is snus?
Snus originated from a variant of dried snuff. Like snuff, snus is usually finely ground but comes enclosed in a small pouch. Snus is typically inserted between the upper lip and gum. It does not generate as much saliva as chewing tobacco or snuff, allowing the snus user to simply swallow any saliva.
Debunked: 6 myths around smoke-free alternatives
Now that you have a better sense of the smoke-free alternatives that are available today, let’s go through some common questions about these products.
Are smoke-free alternatives a healthy and safe alternative to smoking?
No, none of the nicotine-containing products are safe, including smoke-free ones.
The best decision any smoker can make is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether. For those adults who would otherwise continue to smoke, smoke-free alternatives can be a better choice than continued smoking. The reason for this goes back to the principle of burning that occurs when a cigarette is lit, which produces smoke. Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals, and about 100 of them are linked to smoking-related diseases.
At the end of the day, vaping, heated tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff, and snus products contain nicotine, which is addictive, and are not risk-free.
Are smoke-free alternatives the same as cigarettes?
No, smoke-free alternatives are not the same as cigarettes. Cigarettes require the burning of tobacco which produces smoke. The key difference with smoke-free alternatives is that in general they do not require burning and thus, do not produce smoke.
For example, vaping involves the heating of e liquid, and heated tobacco involves the usage of an electronic device that heats tobacco and is intended to prevent tobacco from burning. Both smoke-free alternatives release a nicotine containing aerosol, but no smoke. And while some heated tobacco devices may utilize tobacco sticks that may appear similar in design to a cigarette, these tobacco sticks are designed to be used with their respective devices and should not be burned or smoked.
Is vaping safe without nicotine, or is it safe to use smoke-free products without nicotine?
No, vaping is not necessarily less harmful without nicotine.
Many smoke-free alternatives contain nicotine, and this is especially true for the alternatives that use real tobacco. It may even be easier for adult smokers to switch from smoking cigarettes to a smoke-free alternative if the alternative contains nicotine. However, whether it is delivered through a cigarette or a smoke-free alternative, nicotine is addictive and not risk-free.
Are all smoke-free alternatives the same?
No, smoke-free alternatives are not all the same. There are many different types of smoke-free alternatives, meaning there are choices for any adult smoker who wants to stop smoking and switch to an alternative.
For those who want many different customization and flavor options, the vaping or e cigarette category itself has lots of different products to explore. For those who want an experience that provides satisfaction similar to smoking, heated tobacco may be an option. Chewing tobacco, snuff and snus may be interesting for adult smokers looking for something low tech. While all these products differ, the one thing smoke-free alternatives have in common is that they should not burn tobacco.
Are smoke-free alternatives like heated tobacco and vapes harmful to others around me?
Due to the absence of combustion, smoke-free alternatives do not expose those around you to smoke. As many smoke-free alternatives are newer on the market, their long term “secondhand effects” are still not well known. However, in the case of IQOS heated tobacco, IQOS has no negative impact on indoor air quality*, although not risk free.
*Source: PMI study conducted under ISO standards simulating real-world scenarios and based on threshold limits established by existing air quality guidelines.
Heated tobacco and vapes do produce an aerosol. While some reputable brands have data and science on the aerosol released by their products to make an informed conclusion about secondhand effects, those specific studies do not apply to this entire category of smoke-free alternatives.
Are smoke-free alternatives such as vaping not addictive?
No, smoke-free alternatives provide nicotine, which is addictive.
Smoke-free products are intended for use by adults who would otherwise continue to smoke or use nicotine products and are not intended as cessation devices.
Should I switch from cigarettes to smoke-free alternatives?
The best option to reduce the health risks associated with the use of tobacco and nicotine products is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether. However, for those adults who would otherwise continue to smoke, switching completely to smoke-free alternatives could be a better choice than continuing to smoke cigarettes.
Learn more about the switching to IQOS smoke-free alternatives
Where can I buy heated tobacco?
If you are looking to switch to a smoke-free alternative from cigarettes, IQOS can be a great option to explore - and it’s an option that 14 million legal-aged users around the world have already switched
to. IQOS is available to buy online on this website, or you can use the store locator to find your nearest location.
Learn more about IQOS heated tobacco devices.
IQOS is a heated tobacco device that heats specially designed HEETS tobacco sticks from within, providing the adult user with tobacco flavor and satisfaction, without smoke or ash. As a result, IQOS emits on average 95% lower levels of harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes.**
Important information: IQOS is not risk-free. It delivers nicotine, which is addictive.
**Average reductions in levels of a range of harmful chemicals (excluding nicotine) compared to the smoke of a reference cigarette (3R4F). It does not necessarily equal a 95% reduction in risk.
Discover more about the heating technology behind IQOS heated tobacco devices.
This article is for general information and educational purposes. Some of the information in this article is based on external, third-party sources and we make no representations or warranties of any kind regarding the accuracy, validity or completeness of such information.