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Blog / IQOS vs. Cigarettes: What’s the Difference?
IQOS vs. Cigarettes

IQOS vs. Cigarettes: What’s the Difference?

While there are loads of alternatives to smoking on the market these days, it's not often people take the time to understand them all. So here we’re exploring the differences between cigarettes and heated tobacco products.

What’s different?

The main difference between IQOS vs cigarettes is burning. When you light a cigarette, the oxygen in the air combines with the tobacco to create self-sustained burning.

When a cigarette burns, the tobacco reaches a temperature of over 850°C at the tip of the cigarette. This creates thousands of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals, which are then inhaled. By contrast, heated tobacco only heats the tobacco up to 350°C and precisely controls the temperature to make sure the tobacco doesn’t burn. This means that instead of smoke, the IQOS alternative produces a nicotine vapour.

What’s similar?

Even though IQOS is often aligned with vaping, the experience of using IQOS is more similar to smoking a regular cigarette. From sensory experience to flavour, here are some of the main similarities between the two:

IQOS similarities with cigarettes Nicotine

IQOS produces about the same amount of nicotine as an average cigarette. To be clear, IQOS is not a cessation product, but rather an alternative way to consume tobacco. Unlike e-cigarettes, IQOS uses real tobacco as opposed to liquids, making it similar in many ways to the traditional smoking experience.


One of the biggest attractions of IQOS is the deep and rich tobacco flavour that it produces. Without burning it, the real flavour of tobacco is released. This is something that many new users who switch from cigarettes notice at first and something that's difficult to imitate through tobacco flavoured e-cigarettes and liquids.


In fact, for many adult smokers, an important part of cigarettes is the ritual behaviour. From the weight of it in your hand to the time it takes to smoke. IQOS lasts about the same time as a cigarette; up to 14 puffs. The tobacco sticks also use a similar form of filter technology, giving you a familiar experience when you use IQOS.

To learn more about how IQOS works, check out our video tutorials.
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