Philip Morris IQOS e-cig Review: May 2019 Update
TVG reviews products
The Good: A great choice for current or former smokers | IQOS 3 Multi is very convenient | Very easy to use
The Bad: Lack of flavor variety in the tobacco sticks | Lack of availability in America | Using the IQOS 3 is as cumbersome as using a pack of regular cigarettes | Very high maintenance device
The Bottom Line: The IQOS 3 is a nice upgrade to the IQOS line but the Multi is the real game-changer. That’s because it matches the convenience and freedom of e-liquid e-cigs. The lack of availability in America is the main issue of course, but the lack of flavor variety isn’t great either. It’s kind of a niche product, but it’s a pretty big niche.
The IQOS is a unique e-cigarette device that uses actual tobacco sticks instead of e-liquid. Despite the use of real tobacco, Philip Morris claims that the IQOS is still safer than real cigarettes because the tobacco sticks—aka heat sticks, aka HEET sticks—never get heated to the point of combustion. That means they don’t release the same amount of toxins and carcinogens as a regular cigarette does when it combusts.
Despite those claims, Philip Morris has yet to find success when presenting the IQOS to the FDA for sale in America. It is available in other parts of the world, such as Europe, Japan, the Americas, and even Canada. It’s still unknown whether it will ever be sold in the US, but Philip Morris has kept on updating it for their international customers since its release. The most recent versions are the IQOS 3 and IQOS 3 Multi, both of which feature significant changes from the original.
IQOS Update – May 1st 2019
Well, it’s finally happened, the FDA has approved the IQOS for sale in the US. Both the IQOS and the heatsticks it uses will go on sale sometime in the summer, first in the Atlanta area, and then the rest of the country. The device itself will be sold in dedicated IQOS stores, while the heatsticks will be available in most convenience stores. This means that the IQOS will have the heat-not-burn market to itself because those types of devices have never been sold in the US before.
There are a lot of questions that come with this decision, the biggest one being just how successful will the IQOS be? It’s a unique device, but the market is already dominated by more traditional e-cigarettes like the JUUL and the Rubi. Is there space for the IQOS? And if there is, will it usher in the introduction of more devices similar to the IQOS? We’ll find out eventually, but at least former and current smokers now have a different option to get their nicotine fix.
Kit and Accessories
IQOS 3 Kit
- IQOS 3
- IQOS 3 charging case
- Cleaning device
- Cleaning sticks
- USB cable + AC adapter
IQOS 3 Multi Kit
- IQOS 3 Multi
- Cleaning device
- Cleaning sticks
- USB type-c cable + AC adapter
Design and Features
If you don’t know how the IQOS works, it is a cigarette like device into which tobacco heat sticks are inserted. One of the big things about the IQOS is that it needs a charging dock that doubles as a carrying case because it needs to be recharged after each use. The dock is small enough to fit in your pocket so it’s not too inconvenient.
The IQOS 3 changes some of these components, mostly for the better. The new charging dock now opens from the side instead of from the top and is a little slimmer than the previous charging case. It’s also a more attractive device since it’s available in some stylish color choices. Also the power button and the lights that indicate that the device is charging are now located on the top of the case.
IQOS 3 Multi
The IQOS 3 is essentially just an upgrade, but the Multi is something different. It doesn’t need a case to be charged, so you just carry around the device and insert a new heat stick whenever you want to use it. Unlike the standard IQOS device, it can be used multiple times—hence the name—before it needs to be recharged.
The Multi is a little larger than the standard IQOS, but not by much since it can easily fit into any of your pockets. It has a rounded rectangular design and all of the various openings are covered, which helps in portability. Loading the heat sticks is easy since there is a hole for them on top of the device that easily slides open.
Cleaning and Maintenance
The IQOS is a surprisingly high maintenance device because it needs to be cleaned out daily. The reason is that tobacco residue from the heat sticks gunks up the heating blade and affects the flavor of subsequent heat sticks. The cleaning utensils provided with the kit do a good job of maintaining the device. However, you have to clean the IQOS daily if you want it to retain its full functionality.
How to Use
IQOS 3 and IQOS Multi
- Remove the cover to reveal the heat stick chamber.
- Insert a tobacco stick into the chamber and press the power button.
- Once the indicator light has stopped blinking, inhale from the tobacco stick.
Performance and Flavor
Device Performance: In terms of performance, the main difference between the two new models is that the IQOS 3 needs to be recharged after each use. Whereas the IQOS 3 Multi can be used ten times before it needs to be recharged. Otherwise, they function just the same, with a heat up time that is pretty slow compared to other e-cigarettes, not to mention regular cigarettes.
Flavor Quality: You would expect that the IQOS comes the closest out of any e-cigarette to replicating the feeling of smoking a cigarette, and you would be right. However, that can be a positive or a negative for some people. In general, the IQOS has a strong throat hit and enables mouth to lung inhalation. It has a somewhat sour taste that might be off-putting to vapers used to the colorful flavors of various e-liquids. However, there is a very high likelihood that former or current smokers will enjoy that flavor. There isn’t much of an aroma, so it can be used in public around other people and they probably won’t complain.
If you’re just looking for a device that provides the closest semblance to smoking, then the IQOS is the best choice. But if you like the variety of flavors and nicotine levels e-liquid vaping provides, then the IQOS is not for you. Even if you could get one.
Who is it for: Current or former smokers who want an experience that closely replicates the sensation of smoking an actual cigarette.
Who is it NOT for: Vapers who like the flavor and nicotine variety of e-liquids. Anyone who lives in the United States.