Evolution of IQOS: what was in the past, what to expect in the future
We live in an era of very rapid progress: inventions change the world, our way of life, habits and the way we interact with the world. The innovative heating system IQOS has contributed to this flow of change.
Formally, the idea was to create a compact device for heating tobacco. But in fact, it was about creating a new format that has a number of advantages over the traditional one: convenient, technological, giving less odor and eliminating smoke and ash.
Philip Morris International (PMI) made the right decision, defining a new course of development and focusing on a smoke-free alternative. The company makes significant investments in the development of such innovations: this, as they say in FMI, is their mission - to build a technological and comfortable future without cigarette smoke. Since 2008, more than $ 6 billion has been invested in the development, production, marketing and commercialization of products with reduced risk.
Smokeless alternative was needed for many reasons. It is already obvious that in the world of the future people with bad habits will have a hard time. 10–15 years ago there were no bans, which now seem to be the norm, and the number of counter-measures is increasing. IQOS managed to occupy a new promising niche and, apparently, it will become a solution for many people.
1. How it all began
In 2014, the IQOS heating system appeared on the market: it was first seen in Nagoya (Japan) and Milan (Italy), a year later - in Russia. At first, the consumer looked at the new product with surprise, many did not dare to get to know him better. First of all, “mods” and fans of progress and high technologies paid attention to IQOS: some liked the design of the device, and the latter wanted to touch the future. Now IQOS geography extends to 45 countries of the world, and in fact only 5 years have passed - it says a lot.
The main feature of IQOS is the HeatControl ™ technology. Its principle is that the heating element maintains a temperature at which no combustion occurs - no more than 350 ° C. The temperature limit was chosen far from random: this value allows you to fully reveal the organoleptic properties and, importantly, keep them unchanged during the entire session of use. The temperature of burning cigarettes reaches from 600 to 800 ° C.
Maintaining a stable temperature in a small volume with a non-constant external temperature and other conditions is a complex engineering task that requires fine-tuning of all systems, and IQOS engineers brilliantly coped with it. This technology has many features: when using IQOS, 95% less harmful substances are released compared to cigarettes *.
Important: this does not mean a 95% reduction in risk. Using IQOS does not eliminate health risks.
* Average reduction in the levels of harmful substances (excluding nicotine) in an IQOS aerosol compared to the smoke of the reference cigarette used in the study (3R4F).
In addition, in the process of using IQOS, ash and smoke are not formed, there is much less odor than with traditional tobacco use.
The main element of the HeatControl ™ technology is a ceramic heating element coated with precious metals - gold and platinum. These metals were not chosen by chance. The fact is that together they form a thermocouple that measures the temperature of the heating element and sends this information to the built-in “smart electronics”. Thus, it helps to control the heating process during the entire session using IQOS.
HeatControl ™ technology is the “heart” of IQOS and one of the few things that remains unchanged in every generation of devices.
2. What was the first generation: IQOS 2.4 Plus
Consider the characteristics of the first generation on the example of the review IQOS 2.4 Plus 2017 year. It consists of several components: a holder, a charger for the holder (similar to a powerbank), a cable with a Micro-USB connector and a brush for cleaning the device. What is under the body of the holder: inside we found the battery and the heating element. The holder comes with a rechargeable Li-Ion 2900 mAh battery charger. The term of its service is impressive - 7300 uses, - this will be enough for many years even to a very active user. The capacity of 2900 mAh is designed for 20 sessions, after which the device is put on recharging from the network through a cable with a microUSB connector (like the powerbank, the device needs to be charged).
The holder is controlled simply and clearly: the beginning and end of the session are indicated by vibration signals, and from the functional one button: start command. Managing the charger is not much more difficult: we found three buttons on the side panel — for switching on, for communicating with a smartphone via Bluetooth, and for opening the lid.
3. Last word of technology - what we have now: IQOS 3, IQOS 3 MULTI and IQOS 2.4 Plus (ProtectPlus ™)
Last year a new generation appeared - IQOS 3 and IQOS 3 MULTI. Now it is the most advanced devices in the IQOS model range. Here one of the main innovations is the ProtectPlus ™ system. With it, the developers have revised the approach to protecting the body from shocks and falls. IQOS 3 is made of strong impact-resistant materials, a reliable mechanism for opening the cover (which, by the way, moved from the top of the charger to the side) appeared. In addition, protection from moisture inside the holder was added and the firmware was updated - it became possible to self-diagnose the device.
Compared with the previous model, IQOS 3 has many advantages. IQOS 3 can last twice as long - up to 14,600 uses. With such a margin, there is a high probability that the user will not encounter battery wear at all: in a few years he will acquire a new model, simply wishing to keep up with progress. The time for charging the holder has also decreased - it is ready for use 15% faster than it was before: after 3.5 minutes you can begin the session. The temperature range has expanded - now it is 0–50 ° C. Of course, there are no miracles with lithium-ion batteries, so in extreme cold it is still not worthwhile to supercool the device, but we were very impressed with the upper temperature limit.
As for management, everything has become even simpler and clearer. The developers have updated the system of vibrating signals, here there are 3 of them: the first notifies the user about the start of heating, the second - that the device is ready for use, and the third reports that the session is over and the device is turned off. The user interface responds to all the canons of minimalism - there is only one button left on the charger. And the device is powered by a USB Type-C cable.
And, of course, design, which for many is crucial. In the first generation, the holder was placed in the charger through the top cover, while it had to be installed strictly in a certain position. In IQOS 3, the holder can be installed by any side, the main thing - with the contacts down. New mechanics of the process allowed to improve the appearance of the body, now ergonomic design and smooth lines rule the ball.
In general, the updated IQOS 3 is convenient in all senses. On the one hand, it is an advanced and technologically advanced device, after the use of which you don’t need to worry about a pungent smell. No ash, smoke, and therefore much less discomfort for themselves and others. On the other hand, due to the updated design and thoughtful lines IQOS 3 is a compact and aesthetic device.
But IQOS 3 MULTI is a model in which the holder and the charger became one: technically, it changed the appearance of the IQOS, which allowed it to be used 10 times consecutively without the need to recharge the holder (waiting between sessions now amounts to ... 0 minutes). It takes 75 minutes to fully charge the device. Like IQOS 3, IQOS 3 MULTI has a modern design and Type-C cable. This unit also delivers 3 vibrations. The creators of the position of IQOS 3 MULTI as an addition to the main IQOS, for example, to take this device with you on trips or at events.
Despite the positive reviews of IQOS 3, the classic IQOS 2.4 Plus device remains the most popular IQOS version worldwide, with the largest customer base. That is why PMI decided to update this model in 2019. The ProtectPlus ™ system has been added to the device, which means all the most advanced updates are aimed at improving reliability and durability. The IQOS 2.4 Plus (ProtectPlus ™) device is already on the Russian market.
4. What will be the future and who will provide it
Few know that IQOS appeared on the market as a result of years of work of more than 400 scientists and engineers. These specialists work at the PMI Research and Development Center, which is located in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. HeatControl ™ technology and ProtectPlus ™ system were created within its walls, and here and now they continue to work on improving IQOS.
The Center is doing a lot of work to study the effect of IQOS aerosol on the body - from analyzing the chemical composition of the aerosol to long-term clinical studies. All studies are conducted according to the most stringent international quality standards using state-of-the-art equipment and technology. For example, experiments on the effects of IQOS aerosol are carried out on living tissue samples grown in the laboratory. This allows in detail to investigate the effect of the product at the cellular level, to test it for mutagenicity, toxicity, and ability to interfere with the normal metabolism of a living cell. The results of all studies are published in the public domain.
Engineers are working to bring a comfortable tomorrow. The HeatControl ™ technology created by them, for example, besides reducing the emitted harmful substances, allowed to use IQOS in rooms: the smell became much less, and therefore it worries others less, and dissipates much faster.
By the way, the specialists studied the air quality - FMI conducted a comparative analysis of the effect of IQOS aerosol and cigarette smoke on the environment in a specially equipped room, where the conditions of 4 different rooms were simulated: two types of living space, an office and a restaurant. Scientists measured about 20 components-markers of air pollution: first, their background levels before the start of the experiment, and then after. Cigarette smoking led to a marked increase in the concentration of all components and exceeded the hygienic standards of air quality. And when using IQOS, only two substances — nicotine and acetaldehyde — were recorded at a level exceeding background values: the nicotine content is not more than 1.81 µg / m3, the acetaldehyde content is not more than 5.09 µg / m3. To understand the order of these figures: the maximum permissible acetaldehyde concentration established by hygienic standards in Russia (GN 220.127.116.1192−17 "Maximum permissible concentrations (MAC) of pollutants in the atmospheric air of urban and rural settlements") is 10 µg / m3; The maximum permissible concentration of nicotine in the air has not been established by RF standards.