IQOS vs. Vape – Study Shows Which “Ecig” Is Safest

By Drake Equation •  Updated: 06/28/22 •  8 min read

The IQOS by Phillip Morris has now officially FDA approved – here’s everything you need to know about the IQOS and HEETS, the tobacco sticks that you run inside them… 

What is The IQOS? 

The IQOS is not a vape. It’s a new type of device; one that is called a heat-not-burn nicotine delivery system. It uses real tobacco, like BAT’s GLO device, so you get that distinct cigarette taste, just without all the noxious chemicals – IQOS has 95% fewer harmful chemicals than a cigarette.

In this respect, it is a bit like the VOKE – it’s not a vape, but it still delivers nicotine into your system.

The FDA has also now approved the IQOS for marketing in the USA and the UK; this means Phillip Morris will be able to market the IQOS as a safer alternative to smoking – something no vape company can currently do.

What is The IQOS
The Three Current IQOS Vapes You Can Buy – Check Out The Latest Deals Here

“The FDA’s decision is a historic public health milestone. Many of the tens of millions of American men and women who smoke today will quit—but many won’t,” said André Calantzopoulos, PMI’s Chief Executive Officer.

He added: “Today’s decision makes it possible to inform these adults that switching completely to IQOS is a better choice than continuing to smoke. FDA determined that scientific studies show that switching completely from conventional cigarettes to IQOS reduces exposure to harmful or potentially harmful chemicals.”

Different IQOS Vape Products

How Does IQOS Work? Meet HEETS, the Tobacco Stick…

All of the IQOS models run on HEETS – tobacco sticks that are installed in the IQOS and are heated using the IQOS’ HEATCONTROL Technology. The HEETS are made from real tobacco, and you can also get menthol flavors, so you get the same flavor you would as when smoking real tobacco – this is the big draw for IQOS.

The IQOS DUO + A Selection of HEETS Packs – View Current Prices & Deals Here

If you’re a hardcore smoker and you love your tobacco, the IQOS could be the device that helps you finally get off the death sticks. If you’ve tried vaping but found it wasn’t for you, IQOS could be worth a look. You’re getting real tobacco, FDA-approved safety, and the same level of nicotine as you’d get from smoking a cigarette.


“Thanks to sophisticated electronics, IQOS heats specially designed heated tobacco units up to 350°C, without combustion, fire, ash, or smoke. This generates a flavorful nicotine-containing vapor, releasing the true taste of heated tobacco. The experience lasts about six minutes or 14 puffs, comparable to that of a cigarette.”

Best Place To Buy IQOS & HEETS Sticks? 

The IQOS is now available in the UK (you can check out how much it costs here), and it’s FDA-approved. Created by Big Tobacco giant Phillip Morris, the IQOS system runs on Marlboro tobacco sticks and will be sold in the USA via ALTRIA and in the UK and other markets from 2019 onwards.

If you’re in the UK, Phillip Morris has partnered with UK ECIG STORE to retail all of its IQOS products and HEETS Sticks in the UK.

Me? I cannot stand the thing; it has appalling battery life and its vapor tastes like a damp wash rag. If you want my opinion, you’re going to be infinitely better off with a proper pod-style vape that allows you to run whatever vape juice you like – it’ll be cheaper, the battery life is better, and it tastes massively better.

My current favorite? The UWELL Caliburn A2 – it vapes just like a cigarette and it costs next to nothing to buy and to run.

Uwell Caliburn A2 Pod Kit

The UWELL Caliburn A2 is one of the best pod vapes on the market. The flavor is off the charts and the battery is immense. Add in its small, compact size and you're looking at one of the best pods ever created. Period. 

  • Industry-Leading Flavor
  • Great Battery Life
  • Near-Perfect MTL Draw
  • Compact & Lightweight
Buy Now

IQOS vs Vape – Study Suggests Vape Tank & E Juice is Safer…

The IQOS is a heat-not-burn system, making it kind of a hybrid device. The tobacco is heated up and vapor is produced. It does not use E Juice like traditional vape devices.

The FDA has approved this device for sale. But as Dr. Farsilinos’ new study reveals, the IQOS is not as safe as traditional vape devices. In a study conducted using the Aspire Nautilus vape tank, Dr. Farsilinos found that the normal vape tank emitted substantially lower levels of carbonyls than the IQOS system.

Here are the exact findings from the study:

“At the Health Canada Intense regimen, heated tobacco products emitted 5.0–6.4 μg/stick formaldehyde, 144.1–176.7 μg/stick acetaldehyde, 10.4–10.8 μg/stick acrolein, 11.0–12.8 μg/stick propionaldehyde and 1.9–2.0 μg/stick crotonaldehyde. Compared with the tobacco cigarette, levels were on average 91.6% lower for formaldehyde, 84.9% lower for acetaldehyde, 90.6% lower for acrolein, 89.0% lower for propionaldehyde and 95.3% lower for crotonaldehyde. The e‐cigarette emitted 0.5–1.0 μg/12 puffs formaldehyde, 0.8–1.5 μg/12 puffs acetaldehyde and 0.3–0.4 μg/12 puffs acrolein, but no propionaldehyde and crotonaldehyde. At more intense puffing regimens, formaldehyde was increased in heated tobacco products, but levels were three–fourfold lower compared with the tobacco cigarette.”

It is worth pointing out, however, that the IQOS system is still VASTLY safer than traditional cigarette smoking – over 90% in most cases. What’s odd, though, is that this study shows that the ONLY FDA-approved vape on the market isn’t quite as safe as the ones the FDA is hellbent on removing from the market.

That’s odd, right? The IQOS is safer, but not quite as safe as the Aspire Nautilus running tobacco E Juice. You’d think this would be major news for policymakers at the FDA. You know, the guys that are supposedly in charge of public health in the USA.

In concluding the study, Dr. Farsilinos said: “The IQOS heated tobacco product emits substantially lower levels of carbonyls than a commercial tobacco cigarette (Marlboro Red) but higher levels than a Nautilus Mini e‐cigarette.”

Is IQOS Safe?

Big Tobacco’s Heat-Not-Burn IQOS Range of Devices (View Prices For It Here)

Yes, compared to cigarettes it is A LOT safer. Around 90% is based on Dr. Farsilinos’ findings. But it is still not as safe as traditional vaping devices which not only taste better but are cheaper to run and come with actual flavors (at least for now).

The FDA won’t talk about this study; they probably won’t even acknowledge it. But it is definitely worthy of note given that the IQOS has been officially FDA approved, placing it alongside nicotine patches and gum.

And it’s STILL not as safe as what we’ve been vaping since 2014? Go figure! I think the most interesting thing about this study is that E Juice, when vaped, is less harmful than tobacco when it is heated. If I were a betting man, I’d have put my money on the former.

This kind of research NEEDS to get out into the public domain to quash all the silly, fake science that is being passed around by the FDA and its stooges in alleged anti-tobacco groups. Millions of lives can (and have) been saved by vaping. But we’re losing the battle on information; too many people think vaping is worse than smoking.

MORE: Best Disposable Vapes For Quickly Quitting Cigarettes 

And the reason? A slew of fake, malicious, made-up bunk science claims from the FDA, Big Pharma, and Big Tobacco-owned “action groups” like Tobacco-Free Kids, whose entire existence depends on Big Tobacco profits (see the Master Settlement for more information). It’s all just money, folks. Money, money, money – and tax and excise duty!

When science shows something is safer than something else it should be celebrated and lauded as progression in public health. Instead, in the US, the more dangerous something gets FDA approved and the safer one is facing nationwide bans. Put in that context, the entire system looks rigged…

Wake up, America. Before it’s too late.

And if you want my advice on what the best vape device is right now, it’s two-fold: #1) it’s definitely not the JUUL and #2) you’ll want to use something that is an open system, so you can use your own E Juice in it. My #1 picks right now for pod mods like JUUL, only much better, are detailed inside our Best Pod Vape Guide.

But if you cannot be bothered to read that guide, our #1 pick for the best pod vape system right now is this one:

Uwell Caliburn A2 Pod Kit

The UWELL Caliburn A2 is one of the best pod vapes on the market. The flavor is off the charts and the battery is immense. Add in its small, compact size and you're looking at one of the best pods ever created. Period. 

  • Industry-Leading Flavor
  • Great Battery Life
  • Near-Perfect MTL Draw
  • Compact & Lightweight
Buy Now

Drake Equation

Co-founder and Editor of VapeBeat. I make the words.
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