As the latest innovation of Heated Tobacco Products (HTPs), heat-not-burn (HNB) has risen in popularity in recent years.
Like e-cigarettes and other HTPs, heat-not-burn products are smoke-free, enabling users to enjoy nicotine hits and smoking sensations while exposing them to lower levels of toxic chemicals that are created when a conventional cigarette is combusted.
If you have already been a fan of HNB products, or you intend to make a conversion to HNB products from regular tobacco cigarettes, it is necessary for you to get a better understanding of them.
Below are five points you need to know about HNB products.
What’re HNB products?
Just as its name implies, heat-not-burn products heat, rather than burning the raw materials to delivering nicotine-contained or nicotine-free aerosol that is inhaled by the user.
HNB products generally come in the form of sticks or pods of compressed tobacco leaves. When being designed in stick form, HNB products are visually similar to combustible cigarettes.
Indeed, HNB products do resemble the look and feel of traditional cigarettes and are considered to be closest to conventional cigarettes, though the former might look smaller in size than the latter.
The idea behind HNB products
Even though HNB products mimic the appearance and feel of conventional cigarettes, they are two totally different things when it comes to their operation mechanisms.
When smoking a standard cigarette, the user needs to light up the cigarette with a lighter or a match. In other words, a traditional cigarette is burnt by an open flame.
The traditional cigarette is commonly burnt to a temperature between 600°C-800°C, and in some cases, it can even be burnt to an extremely high temperature of around 900°C.
During the burning process, the cigarette releases nicotine-contained tobacco smoke and its byproducts like ash and tar. In addition to nicotine, emissions from a burnt tobacco cigarette contain a huge amount of toxic substances, such as carbon monoxide, arsenic, benzene, formaldehyde and many more.
By far, 250 compounds have been known to be toxic, and about 70 are designated to be carcinogenic. It is also widely recognized that tobacco smoke and its residues, rather than nicotine, are responsible for tobacco-related diseases like lung cancer, heart disease, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD) and asthma, etc.
Conversely, heat-not-burn products don’t use any open flames and don’t involve combustion when they are in use. Instead, they use an electronically controlled heating element to heat the material to produce an aerosol for the user to breathe in.
A heat-not-burn device generally consists of a holder(also called a heating device), a charger, and heatsticks, together with plugs or capsules. The heating device is typically battery-powered and rechargeable.
When using an HNB device, the user inserts a heat stick into the holder and presses the power on button to activate the heating device.
The heating control system keeps the heat stick to be warmed at a temperature between 240°C -350°C so as to prevent it from burning.
Since heat-not-burn products don’t involve combustion or burning when being used, no tobacco smoke and its residues are produced. As a result, HNB products are promoted as a less harmful alternative to combustible cigarettes.
Types of HNB products
HNB products are first popularly known as heat tobacco products(HTPs), which use compressed ground tobacco leaves as base materials. Other formulations include additives and flavorings, etc.
Regularly, each heated tobacco stick contains the same amount of nicotine as a conventional cigarette, allowing users to enjoy a nicotine hit and sensations similar to smoking.
Some users consider the taste and smell of heat tobacco sticks to be lighter than conventional tobacco sticks, which is possibly due to their lower heating temperature than that of regular cigarettes.
Anyway, heated tobacco products are closest to combustible cigarettes in regard to the smoking rituals and nicotine sources(naturally present in tobacco ) compared with other nicotine products like e-cigarettes and oral nicotine.
While heat tobacco cigarettes represent the majority of HNB products, there are those heatsticks that are made of other contents, which are called heated alternative products.
Heated alternatives, also known as HNB alternatives or non-tobacco heat sticks, are considered an alternative to heat tobacco products. This newer product category replicates heat tobacco in terms of structure, size and operation science.
The major difference between heat tobacco and heat alternative lies in their ingredients. Heated alternative products are primarily referred to as herbal heats ticks and tea-based heatsticks, which means they replace tobacco leaves with natural herbs or tea and their variations as base constituents.
A heat alternative product is generally composed of nicotine, natural herbs, tea leaves, vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol and flavorings, enabling users to have smoking-like feelings, together with soothing and refreshing experiences.
Heat alternatives have grown in popularity in recent years due to their enjoyable flavors and convenience for use. Since tobacco products are strictly regulated or banned in many places or occasions, non-tobacco heatsticks have become a popular substitute for them.
Flavors of HNB products
As for the flavors, heat tobacco comes in a relatively limited number of choices compared with heated alternatives. For example, some manufacturers might use flavors like menthol to mask the harsh smell that’s linked with tobacco.
Comparably, heated alternative products offer users a broader range of flavors, such as menthol, blueberry, strawberry, lavender, coffee, mojito and so on.
For those who favor a fruitful, aromatic or candy flavor, heated alternative products can well meet their needs.
Moreover, as heated alternatives don’t contain tobacco, they don’t give off the irritated smell and unpleasant off-taste associated with tobacco products, which seems more socially acceptable.
Leading brands & markets
There have been a number of manufacturers entering the HNB area, including some transnational tobacco companies. These big players also dominate the HNB market.
Some of the leading heated tobacco brands include IQOS, produced by Philip Morris International (PMI), glo by British American Tobacco(BAT), and Ploom from Japan Tobacco, among others.
By far, IQOS is the largest HTPs brand, with its heated tobacco system IQOS covering over 60 markets. IQOS was first introduced in Japan in 2014, where they have taken the market by storm, making HTPs well-known to the world.
Though heat tobacco products are now available in a large number of markets, like Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Swiss, Britain, USA, and more, Japan remains the largest market in the world, representing about two-fifths of the global category volume sales.
Following the hit of HTPs, heated alternatives, the latest HNB innovation, have also become quite a phenomenon in recent years. The heat alternatives are primarily known as herbal heat sticks.
Some of the herbal heated stick players include NEAFS, tqs flavour, Darlings, CIGOO Ccobato, Unicco, and so on. While NEAFS is the only one that get approved by MHRA in the UK.
NEAFS have become more and more popular in European regions. Instead of using tobacco leaves, NEAFS sticks use tea leaves as the base, which are incorporated into nicotine, natural herbs, edible essence and flavorings.
Each Neaf stick contains nicotine with 1.5% strength, which is much lower than conventional cigarettes. What’s more, there are also non-nicotine options available to choose from.
For those who intend to reduce or quit nicotine intake while wanting to keep the smoking-like ritual, Neafs would be a suitable choice for them.
Above are some basic knowledge about HBN products. In short, HNB products include two types by content, which is heat tobacco and heat alternative(predominantly herbal heat stick).
These high-tech devices enable users to consume real tobacco, natural herbs, or tea with an electronic device while keeping them away from the toxic chemicals occurring in a burnt tobacco cigarette.
Hope this article will help you learn something useful about HNB products and give you some inspiration in making a suitable choice in moving to a smoke-free future.