The History and Evolution of Smoking: From Ancient Times to IQOS

The history of smoking goes back thousands of years. Smoking has undergone significant changes, from its ancient roots in ceremonial and medicinal practices to modern health and regulatory concerns. Today, there is a noticeable shift away from traditional cigarettes as people explore alternative smoking devices such as vapes, HQDs, and heated tobacco systems known as IQOS. This article explains the history of IQOS, its design, how it works, and the extensive scientific research behind its development. Additionally, companies like iTerea play an important role in this shift, offering innovative products for those who want to quit smoking and switch to healthier alternatives.

What is IQOS?

IQOS, which stands for “I Quit Original Smoking,” is a revolutionary tobacco heating system developed by Philip Morris International (PMI). Unlike traditional cigarettes, which burn tobacco to produce smoke, IQOS heats tobacco just enough to release a flavorful nicotine-containing vapor without combustion. This method significantly reduces the levels of harmful chemicals typically found in cigarette smoke, offering a potentially less dangerous alternative to traditional smoking.

History of IQOS

The Beginning

In 2008, Philip Morris International (PMI) established a research center in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, to develop technologically advanced smoking devices without combustion. This initiative was driven by the growing awareness of the health risks associated with traditional smoking and the need for safer alternatives. The research center focused on creating a product that could provide a satisfying experience for smokers while significantly reducing the harmful effects associated with traditional smoking.

Introduction of IQOS

After years of intensive research and development, IQOS was first introduced in 2014. This innovative product represented a breakthrough in the field of tobacco harm reduction. By heating tobacco instead of burning it, IQOS delivers the taste and nicotine that smokers crave but with fewer harmful chemicals. The initial rollout of IQOS began in select markets, allowing PMI to gather user feedback and refine the product based on real-world usage.

Adoption and Popularity

By 2019, a statistical study revealed that over 13 million people were using IQOS. Impressively, about 70% of these users had completely switched from conventional cigarettes to IQOS, highlighting its effectiveness as an alternative to smoking. The rapid adoption of IQOS can be attributed to its ability to offer a similar experience to smoking while significantly reducing exposure to harmful substances. This success prompted PMI to expand the availability of IQOS to more markets worldwide, making it accessible to a larger audience of smokers looking to reduce their health risks.

Design and Operating Principles of IQOS

Components of IQOS

IQOS consists of two main components: the holder and the charger. The holder is a sleek, pen-like device containing a blade that heats the tobacco stick. The charger is a portable unit that recharges the holder after each use, ensuring it is always ready for the next session. This modular design makes IQOS convenient and user-friendly, allowing smokers to enjoy their tobacco without the hassle of traditional smoking methods.

HeatControl Technology

The core technology behind IQOS is PMI’s patented HeatControl technology. This technology heats the tobacco to a precise temperature of 350°C, just enough to release the flavors and nicotine without burning the tobacco. This process avoids combustion, which produces the vast majority of harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke. IQOS significantly reduces cigarette smoke’s tar, carbon monoxide, and other toxic substances by eliminating combustion.

User Experience

The design of IQOS aims to mimic the ritual of smoking while reducing exposure to harmful substances. Users insert a specially designed tobacco stick, known as a HEET or HeatStick, into the holder, activate the heating blade, and inhale the resulting vapor. The experience is similar to smoking but without the ash, smoke, and strong odor associated with burning tobacco. The vapor produced by IQOS has a subtle aroma and dissipates quickly, making it more socially acceptable and less intrusive than cigarette smoke.

IQOS Scientific Research

Before IQOS was released to the market, the device underwent comprehensive research in several stages. PMI scientists conducted extensive studies on the chemical composition of the IQOS aerosol, toxicological assessments, and clinical studies. These rigorous scientific evaluations were essential to ensure the safety and efficacy of IQOS as a reduced-risk tobacco product.

Chemical Composition Analysis

Scientists studied the composition of the IQOS tobacco vapor released during use and compared it to the smoke from a standard cigarette. The results showed that using IQOS releases 95% fewer harmful substances compared to traditional cigarettes. This significant reduction in toxic chemicals is a key factor in the appeal of IQOS as a less dangerous alternative. The detailed analysis covered a wide range of toxicants, including volatile organic compounds, carbonyls, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are known to contribute to smoking-related diseases.

Toxicological Assessments

During toxicological assessments, scientists investigated how cigarette smoke and IQOS aerosol affect the body. Modern technologies were employed, such as experiments on living cell cultures grown in vitro, which reproduce the structure of human organs like the oral cavity. They also used organ-on-a-chip technology, where living cells are placed in a special chip, and a computer reads information. These studies provided valuable insights into the potential health impacts of IQOS aerosol. The findings indicated that IQOS aerosol has significantly lower cytotoxicity and genotoxicity compared to cigarette smoke, suggesting a reduced risk of cancer and other diseases.

Indoor Air Quality Studies

PMI scientists conducted studies on the effect of IQOS tobacco vapor on indoor air quality. They compared IQOS tobacco vapor and cigarette smoke using a special demonstration machine. The findings indicated that IQOS produces significantly lower levels of harmful chemicals in the air, making it a better option for indoor use. This research demonstrated that using IQOS results in lower concentrations of toxic compounds such as carbon monoxide, acrolein, and benzene in indoor environments, reducing the risk of secondhand exposure for non-smokers.

Effects on Tooth Enamel

Another study focused on the effects of IQOS aerosol on tooth enamel. Scientists discovered that the impact of IQOS vapor on tooth enamel is considerably less damaging than cigarette smoke, which is known to stain and deteriorate teeth. This study involved exposing artificial tooth enamel samples to IQOS aerosol and cigarette smoke and measuring color and surface integrity changes. The results showed that IQOS aerosol caused significantly less staining and erosion, highlighting its potential for reducing smoking-related dental health risks.

Differences Between IQOS and Electronic Cigarettes

The most important difference between IQOS and electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) is the substance being heated. In e-cigarettes, a special liquid of propylene glycol, glycerin, and flavorings is heated to produce vapor. In contrast, IQOS heats actual tobacco without combustion. The inhaled composition in IQOS contains tobacco components but in smaller doses than in cigarette smoke. This distinction makes IQOS a unique type of smoking device with its characteristics and appeal.

Scientific Approach and Research

The IQOS device is based on innovative technologies and a strict, transparent, sound scientific approach. IQOS uses HeatControl technology, a patented development of PMI scientists in Switzerland, which heats tobacco without burning it, thus revealing its taste and aroma. When using IQOS, there is less odor on your hands, hair, and clothes compared to smoking cigarettes. IQOS devices have undergone extensive research according to strict international standards. Scientists studied the effects of IQOS tobacco vapor on the human body using artificial models of human cells, assessed the impact on tooth enamel, and measured the amount of harmful chemical compounds during IQOS use.

IQOS in Dubai

In Dubai, you can order IQOS Iluma One Neon for home delivery. This limited collection, available for AED 300, can be requested by contacting iTerea, Dubai’s best online IQOS dealer. Their wide range will please even the most sophisticated smokers, offering various options to suit different preferences and needs. iTerea provides a convenient and reliable service, ensuring users can easily access the latest IQOS products and accessories.


IQOS represents a significant advancement in the effort to reduce the harm associated with smoking. Through extensive scientific research and innovative technology, PMI has created a product that offers smokers a less harmful alternative to traditional cigarettes. As people continue to seek ways to distance themselves from conventional smoking, devices like IQOS, along with vapes and HQDs, provide viable alternatives. The continued research and development in this field promise even safer and more effective smoking alternatives in the future. IQOS exemplifies how technology and science can be harnessed to create products that cater to consumer needs while addressing public health concerns, marking a new era in the evolution of smoking.

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