E-cigarettes and vaping products

      Within our portfolio of smoke-free products, we offer a range of e-vapor products also known as e-cigarettes. E-vapor products are handheld battery-operated devices that vaporize a liquid solution which generally contains nicotine and flavors to create an inhalable aerosol. E-vapor products are not risk free, but, for adults who would otherwise continue to smoke, they are a better alternative than continued smoking. In this page, we review e-vapor products as a category and give further insight into our own products and the science supporting them.

      What are e-vapor products?

      An e-vapor product is a handheld, battery-powered device that vaporizes an e-liquid, which generally contains nicotine, to produce an aerosol instead of burning tobacco as in a cigarette. Vaping is the act of inhaling this aerosol. There exist numerous varieties of e-vapor products, each functioning in its unique way. However, they all share common components: a tank for storing the e-liquid, a heating system, a power supply, and a mouthpiece for inhalation. 

      The e-vapor products we offer contain their e-liquid within a closed tank, although other manufacturers create open-tank devices that allow for e-liquid refills. Also, certain e-vapor devices come with rechargeable features, while others are designed for single use and are disposable. 


      What is inside an e-vapor product?

      In addition to a heating system and power supply, e-vapor products contain an e-liquid that is vaporized to produce an aerosol. The composition of an e-liquid can differ from one product to another, although, they usually include ingredients such as nicotine, various flavors, and solvents. Two of these solvents, glycerin and propylene glycol, are the most common substances found in e-liquids as they dilute the nicotine and flavors and allow the formation of the aerosol. 

      How do e-vapor products work?

      While e-vapor products differ due to the wide range of available devices, they mostly operate in a similar manner: when a user draws air through the mouthpiece, the heating system is activated, vaporizing the e-liquid in contact with the heating element. A vapor or gas is formed. As this vapor gets channeled through the device towards the mouthpiece, the gas phase cools down, leading to the condensation of the vapor into liquid droplets, thus forming the aerosol.  

      Commonly used e-vapor products employ a wick and coil system for heating the e-liquid. The wick draws the e-liquid through capillary action onto a coil-heating element which vaporizes the e-liquid to create a vapor. The wick, usually made of cotton, ensures a continuous flow of e-liquid from the tank onto the coil until the level is low or there is no more e-liquid.


      What are PMI’s e-vapor products? 

      At Philip Morris International (PMI), our vaping systems are supported by two heating technologies: the wick and coil heating technology and the ceramic heater technology. 

      Disposable vaping system

      Wick and coil technology

      The wick and coil heating technology is currently used for our disposable vaping system (DVS), commercialized as VEEV NOW. As described above, the wick and coil heating technology generates a nicotine-containing aerosol from the e-liquid stored in the tank. As its name indicates, DVS is a single-use e-vapor device and is recyclable through our circular program.

      Ceramic vaping system

      Ceramic heater technology

      The ceramic heater technology is currently used for our ceramic vaping system (CVS), commercialized as VEEV ONE. The heating technology utilized in CVS is founded on a ceramic heater, which features a ceramic microporous substrate with a printed metallic heating track. 

      Contrary to DVS, CVS is reusable as it comprises of a replaceable cartridge which holds the e-liquid in a disposable closed tank. It is also powered by a rechargeable battery unit.

      Aerosol heating system

      Other technologies

      The Aerosol Heating System (AHS)*, also developed by KT&G, combines elements of heated tobacco products and e-vapor products into a single hybrid system.


      * Also known commercially as lil Hybrid.

      Because vaping systems don’t burn tobacco and don't even contain tobacco, DVS and CVS emit on average 99% lower levels of harmful chemicals (except nicotine) compared with cigarettes, making it for adult smokers who don’t quit a better alternative than continued smoking. This does not necessarily equal a 99% reduction in risk. DVS and CVS are not risk free and provide nicotine, which is addictive.


      How are e-vapor products different from cigarettes? 

      E-vapor products are very different from cigarettes which burn the tobacco. Through the combustion of tobacco, cigarettes produce smoke, a complex, chemical mixture, with billions of carbon-based solid particles and more than 6,000 constituents identified. Within this complex mixture, about 100 chemicals have been associated with smoking-related disease by public health authorities. These constituents are also known as harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs).  

      E-vapor products do not generate smoke but an aerosol which can contain lower levels of harmful chemicals than found in cigarette smoke, although this needs to be substantiated for each product. The aerosol generated by e-vapor products is sometimes wrongly referred to as smoke. While smoke is an aerosol, not all aerosols are smoke, and the aerosol released by an e-vapor product is not smoke.  


      Are e-vapor products better than continued smoking? 

      While not being risk free, e-vapor products have the potential to be less harmful alternatives for adult smokers who won’t quit. When tobacco burns, high levels of harmful chemicals are released into the smoke, and carbon-based solid particles are generated that are inhaled. Because e-vapor products don’t involve combustion, they likely produce significantly lower levels of those harmful chemicals, a point which should be assessed on a per-product basis.

      Are e-vapor products safe?

      No. E-vapor products are not risk free and generally provide nicotine, which is addictive. However, unlike smoking, there is no burning of tobacco and therefore no smoke to inhale, making the use of vaping products, whose risk profile is scientifically substantiated, to be lower than cigarettes for adult smokers who don’t quit.   

      In fact, e-vapor products can generate up to 99% fewer harmful chemicals (excluding nicotine) than cigarettes, although this does not equate to a 99% reduction in risk.


      Harm reduction and e-vapor products

      The best way for smokers to reduce their risks associated with smoking is to quit tobacco and nicotine altogether. However, around 1 billion people will continue to smoke for the foreseeable future. An increasing consensus suggests that adult smokers who switch entirely to tobacco or nicotine-containing products that do not involve burning tobacco may face lower risks of harm compared with continuing traditional smoking. Therefore, the more adult smokers choose smoke-free alternatives instead of continuing to smoke, the bigger the impact on reducing population harm. This is known as the tobacco harm reduction approach.  

      Ensuring that smoke-free alternatives satisfy current adult smokers so that they completely switch is crucial. Flavor is one of the key factors influencing user satisfaction.