The iQOS tobacco heating system contains three parts: a holder, tobacco stick and a charger.
The pen-like device contains a ceramic and gold plate that heats Philip Morris-branded tobacco sticks up to 350 degrees Celsius. Tobacco in cigarettes burns at temperatures at or greater than 600 degrees Celsius.
The tobacco sticks are designed specifically for the device. In the U.S., PMI wants to offer Marlboro, Marlboro Smooth Menthol and Marlboro Fresh Menthol HeatSticks.
PMI says the product is a closer experience to smoking cigarettes than other alternatives, such as e-cigarettes, because it uses actual tobacco. The company says that could convince adult smokers to switch exclusively to iQOS.
Critics point to e-cigarettes being used in addition to and perhaps even leading users into conventional cigarettes. PMI is quick to note iQOS is not an e-cigarette, and the presence of tobacco may not have the same appeal as fruity, sweet nicotine-laced liquid.