Less toxic. An innovation that could save lives. They may help you quit smoking. No, we’re not talking about vaping products. They’re called Heat-not-Burn cigarettes or HNB cigarettes.
These products could be thought of as the middle road between traditional cigarettes and vaping products. So what are HNB cigarettes and how do they work? Here’s what you need to know about Heat-not-Burn (HNB) cigarettes.
What is an HNB cigarette?
HNB cigarettes are smokeless alternatives to traditional cigarettes. HNB cigarettes are different from vaping devices because they use tobacco whereas vapes do not.
The setup consists of a small electronic device, similar in size and looks to an AIO pod. An HNB refill is then inserted into the of the device. The refills are specialized tobacco cigarettes that look like very short smokes.
The device heats the tobacco just enough that vapor is produced, and like vaping there is no combustion, hence the Heat-not-Burn name. Other versions look like vape pens, and tobacco leaves are placed on a heating coil and the user inhales the vapor when the tobacco is heated.
Who created HNB cigarettes?
The first reported commercial HNB product was called the premier from RJ Reynolds. It was a smokeless cigarette launched in 1988. Users described it as difficult to use and tasted bad.
Since then a number of large tobacco companies have tried launching numerous products to mixed success. This seems to have changed as of recently. HNB technology has continued to evolve and the current products are offering a better almost smoke like experience to users. With many smokers not getting the satisfying throat hit from some vaping products, HNB cigarettes seem to be helping fill the void.
HNB Cigarettes Benefits
In order to vaporize the tobacco, HNB cigarettes heat tobacco to 350°C (lower than 600°C as in conventional cigarettes). Since the tobacco is only being heated and there is no combustion, the user is exposed to less harmful toxicants. HNB cigarettes also have a less noticeable scent and second-hand vapor is not as evident as second-hand smoke. HNB cigarettes also offer a similar experience to smoking giving users that throat hit.
Are HNB cigarettes safer than regular cigarettes?
With HNB technology still in its infancy, there haven’t been too many studies to support company claims of HNB cigarettes being healthier. A study by the Independent Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) on two commercial HNB products concluded they were less risky than a standard cigarette.
“The evidence suggests that heat-not-burn products still pose a risk to users. There is likely to be a reduction in risk for cigarette smokers who switch to heat-not-burn products but quitting entirely would be more beneficial.” Professor Alan Boobis, Chairman, COT
In Korea, a study was commissioned by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. They analyzed the levels of 11 toxicants in 3 different brands. The amount of nicotine in the HNB cigarettes was in a similar range to cigarettes, between 1mg to 5mg, but they had a higher amount of tar averaging 9.2mg of tar vs 8mg which is the average from 100 different brands of cigarettes. Other toxicants found in HNB vapor included benzene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acrolein, and carbon monoxide.
Examples of HNB Cigarettes Currently Available
It’s great to see companies coming up with new alternatives to smoking. The more choices we have for consumers to help us quit the stinky sticks, the more chance of success we will have.
In my opinion, the downside of HNB cigarettes is that you are still using tobacco cigarettes when the leaves are coated in some proprietary blend of chemicals which I am not a fan of, plus we don’t know what is in the mixture and what kind of health risks will come from vaping them. With vaping, you know what you’re dealing with. You got your nicotine, VG, PG and food grade flavors. That’s it.
At the end of the day, if HNB cigarettes are something that can help you quit smoking, I’m all for it. As for me, I’ll stick to vaping.
Do you have any experience with HNB cigarettes? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comment section below.
My name is Mike Cardeno. I started vaping back in 2010 and have never touched a cigarettes since. I started using 810 devices, to 510’s, eGo’s, Nautilus etc. to the current offerings of Subtanks and RDA’s. I love how far the industry has come and look forward to what’s in the future for vaping. I enjoy collecting new devices and writing reviews to give my feedback on some of the newest gear.