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Heat not Burn news roundup – December 2018

heat not burn news December 2018

As you’ve probably noticed from the number of reviews we’ve had lately, things are pretty busy in the world of Heat not Burn. Most of the action is in the shape of new products, and we’ve been getting our hands on as many of these as possible so we can let you know what you’re like. That’s not all that’s going on, though. As HnB’s popularity grows, governments and the public health industry are really starting to sit up and take notice. My worry is that this is going to be e-cigarettes all over again; that a great new technology is going to be attacked by people who make a living out of complaining about cigarettes. Sure enough, there are signs of that happening in a few places around the world – but there are some more positive things happening too. Let’s have a look at the latest news from the wild and wacky world of heated tobacco products.

Altria scrap e-cigs, pin hopes on HnB

A big news item last week was that Altria, the company that sells Marlboro cigarettes in the USA, is ending production of its MarkTen and Green Smoke e-cig ranges. Altria say that this is because the products have a relatively poor financial outlook, and new FDA regulations mean it’s too slow and expensive to approve them. To replace the retired products the company is following a two-pronged strategy. One track is to buy a stake in pod mod maker JUUL Labs; the other is to become the US distributer for sister company Philip Morris’s iQOS if the FDA approve it for sale in the United States.

While we’re talking about iQOS, the latest version of the popular device has just been launched in South Africa. Available in Japan, Switzerland and Russia since mid-November, the updated system seems to be getting a rapid global roll-out. Unlike the 2.4 Plus, which gave the original iQOS design a facelift and some technical upgrades, the iQOS 3 is a completely new product. The basic concept is the same – a holder and a portable charging case – but both components are significantly different from the 2.4. The new PCC has a side-opening design rather than a flip top, and apparently some upgrades in battery capacity and charging speed.

On top of the iQOS 3, PMI have also released the new iQOS 3 Multi. While iQOS is the leading HnB product, it’s facing increasing competition from other devices, and they all use a different design concept. iQOS is the only popular system that uses a PCC and a holder that only has enough battery capacity to vape a single stick; all its rivals have larger batteries that store enough power to get through anywhere from eight to 30 HEETs. The iQOS Multi is aimed at users who prefer this; smaller than the complete iQOS 3, but a lot larger than the holder, its internal battery will last for around ten HEETs before it needs a top-up.

South African health nuts complain about iQOS 3

South Africa’s public health industry hasn’t wasted any time in criticising the iQOS 3 launch. Savera Kalideen, director of the National Council Against Smoking, was one of the first to start yelling. On the basis of no evidence at all, Kalideen claimed “Safer is not the same as safe. These products can still cause lung disease.” He demanded stricter regulations, although the government’s new Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill has already been criticised for making it harder to access reduced-harm products.

iQOS is also facing opposition in South Korea. In June the ministry of food and drug safety claimed that iQOS released higher levels of tar than a traditional cigarette. As tar is a combustion product, and HnB doesn’t involve combustion, this is pretty much impossible unless something has gone badly wrong. Needless to say PMI weren’t too happy, and asked the ministry to release the details of any testing that had been carried out. The ministry refused, and PMI are now suing. The ministry is complaining, but still refuses to back up its claims with evidence.

It’s not all bad news from South Korea though. Heat not burn is the most popular reduced harm option there, with iQOS, BAT’s Glo and the locally made KT&G Lil range all enjoying strong sales. South Korea is an interesting market. Some vapers who’re opposed to HnB claim that iQOS has only sold so well in Japan because e-cigs are almost impossible to buy there. However they’re widely available in South Korea – but HnB is still leading the reduced risk market.

PMI aim to protect farmers

It’s important to remember that tobacco harm reduction doesn’t just affect smokers – it can have impacts a long way from there. For example a HEET contains a fraction of the tobacco a cigarette does. As more smokers switch, demand for tobacco is going to fall sharply. That’s potentially very bad news for tobacco farmers. Although the public health industry tends to smear everyone involved in making cigarettes, HEETs or e-liquid as “big tobacco”, the truth is that almost all tobacco is grown by independent farmers. Anti-tobacco activists don’t care what happens to these farmers, but PMI South Africa chief Marcelo Nico says the company is working with suppliers to help farmers find alternative crops. That way, PMI’s goal of moving all smokers over to safer products won’t cause economic damage to farmers.

So overall, it looks like we’re getting the predictable reaction from public health nuts about HnB – they hate it. Of course they do, because they make a living from harassing smokers, and HnB has already converted a lot of smokers. From the public health point of view there are only two ways to react to it; suppress the technology so smokers keep smoking, and can keep being victimised, or claim it’s just as bas as smoking so they can continue persecuting users. Unfortunately, politicians listen to these clowns – even when the science is showing clearly that they’re wrong. If Heat not Burn fans want to avoid the sort of regulations and bans that are being applied to e-cigs, they need to start writing to their politicians now.

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The Jouz – Heat not Burn UK Exclusive Review


Right now I feel the same way about Heat not Burn as I did about vaping when I first discovered the whole world of devices that existed beyond the cigarette-style things I started with. From one really practical device – the iQOS – a couple of years ago, the market has expanded rapidly; we seem to be hearing about new products every week now, and quite a few of them are making it into our hands. You might remember how long it took us to actually get to review an iQOS in the early days of the site. Well, it’s not like that now.

Some of the early devices we got from Chinese manufacturers were a bit on the crude side. I’m not going to name any names here, but if you’ve been reading my reviews you can probably guess the ones I’m talking about. Things are moving fast, though, and over the last few months I’ve had a couple of very nice devices sitting on my desk.

Well, now I have another couple. Last week the boat from China brought me two examples of the new Jouz, yet another vaporiser that runs on Philip Morris’s increasingly popular HEETs. So without further ado, let’s see what it’s like.


The Review

The Jouz comes in a nice hard plastic box, which (for my samples, at least) has a cardboard outer cover around it. Tear off the cardboard and open the box, and the Jouz is sitting there in the usual moulded plastic tray. The tray lifts out to reveal an instruction leaflet in English and Mandarin, and a warranty card. Under those is another tray containing a selection of goodies. There’s a USB charging cable, a nice cleaning brush, a pack of pipecleaners and a couple of covers for the heating chamber. There are two covers because you’re going to lose the first one and need a spare. Then you’re going to lose that too. The accessories all seem good quality, though, adding up to a very nicely presented package.

The device itself is about the shape of a large lipstick. It has a roughly square cross section with well-rounded corners, making it very comfortable to hold. It’s chunkier and heavier than the Switch I looked at a couple of weeks ago (although a little bit shorter), and significantly larger than an iQOS holder, but it’s still a pretty compact device. The body appears to be plastic, with a nice satin finish that gives a decent grip. The removable top cap has a metal reinforcing ring around the opening for the heating chamber; those plastic covers plug into this opening, until you lose them. The top cap itself can be slipped off for cleaning; a couple of notches ensure it can only be put back in the correct alignment with the blade, and a magnet holds it in place.

Build quality is excellent throughout. All the parts fit together perfectly and the Jouz has a real high-quality feel to it. A lot of engineering has gone into this device; I was thoroughly impressed.

Under the top cap the Jouz is remarkably tidy. The top surface is flat, with a vented tubular heating chamber projecting from the centre. Inside the chamber is a ceramic heating blade. The neat setup makes it very easy to clean.

I’m getting to know how people make these devices now, so after checking out the top cap I looked at the base expecting to see the usual micro USB charging port. Much to my surprise, I didn’t. In fact I couldn’t see it anywhere else either. Then I noticed a circular insert in the base, with a small dot at one side. Push the dot and the insert tilts slightly, exposing the charging port set into one edge. This is a neat touch that keeps pocket fluff and dust out of the port when you’re not using it.

All actual control of the device is handled by a single power button just below the top cap. This blends extremely well with the body – so well it’s actually quite hard to spot – and has three small white LEDs set into it.

Vaping the Jouz

The first step, as usual, was to charge the battery. This took just under two hours, with progress marked by the three LEDs lighting up one by one as the charge filled up. When all three were glowing steadily I unplugged it, flipped the base a few times just because it was fun, removed and lost the cover for the cleaning chamber and shoved in a HEET. The chamber is a nice easy fit for the sticks – there’s no trouble getting them in.

With a HEET in place all you need to do is hold down the power button for three seconds until the device vibrates to signal that it’s powered up and heating. Once that happens it takes almost exactly 20 seconds to reach operating temperature. That’s not stunningly fast, but it is about average, so no complaints there. When it’s ready to go it vibrates again; at that point I got puffing.

I have to say, I was pleased with the vape from the Jouz. It’s not quite up there with the iQOS 2.4 Plus, which really is the gold standard in the vapour department, but it’s still very good. There’s no shortage of vapour and it’s dense and richly flavoured, although the taste did begin to fall off noticeably towards the end of the HEET. That seems to be pretty unavoidable with this technology, although again iQOS has a bit of an edge.

Each session with the Jouz lasts five and a half minutes or 14 puffs, whatever comes first. The device vibrates to signal that you’re down to the last 20 seconds or two puffs, so you can grab a final bit of nicotine before it shuts down. Once it switches off just slide the top cap up half an inch to get the HEET off the blade, take it out and let the magnet snap the cap down into place. Then look for the dust cover you’ve lost and get the spare one from the box.

Because Jouz is a fairly small device it doesn’t have massive battery capacity. Even so, a full charge is good for at least 15 HEETs, so it should get you through most of a day before you have to plug it in.

The Verdict

I really, really like the Jouz. It’s compact, very well made, simple to use and maintain, and gives a decent vape. Are there any negatives? Well, I’d like a bit more battery capacity (as always) and it’s just a bit too heavy to leave it hanging from my lip as I work, but apart from that it ticks all the right boxes. Is this a match for the iQOS? Probably not, but if you want a Heat not Burn device that’s self-contained, rather than relying on a charging case, the Jouz should be close to the top of your list. It’s an excellent product.

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The Switch – Heat not Burn UK exclusive review

Switch heat not burn device

I’m getting quite used to product reviews now. I have to admit, when I started writing for Heat not Burn UK it was a real struggle to find new material. There weren’t many devices around, they were mostly on sale only in restricted test markets, and they were as rare as rocking horse turds anyway.

Well, that’s all changed now. Over the last few months we’ve had a string of reviews, mostly on new HEET-based systems from China, and they’re still coming. I have two different devices on their way to me now – one HnB gadget and the latest Vype pod mod from BAT – so they’ll be getting tested over the next few weeks, but actually I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here. Let’s focus on what’s sitting on my desk right now.

For the last few days I’ve been testing the Switch, a brand new HnB device from China. This is a very interesting little vaporiser, and I like it a lot. Like most of the ones I’ve tested so far it uses Philip Morris’s HEET tobacco sticks, which were developed for their own iQOS but now seem to have become the standard. That’s good news for anyone that fancies a Switch, of course; if you decide to get one, the consumables you need are now widely available.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s have a look at the thing and see what it’s like!

The Review

The Switch comes in the usual cardboard box. There’s a flap at one side secured by a couple of magnets, and lifting that and the top reveals the Switch. The device is fitted snugly in a moulded plastic tray; lift that out and there’s a box of accessories tucked inside it. In there you’ll find a pack of cotton buds for cleaning, a brush and a charging cable. All the accessories seem to be decent quality; the brush isn’t as nice as the ones that come with the iQOS or Lil, but it’s perfectly functional – and, let’s be honest; how often are you going to pull it out in the pub and say “Hey, look at my tiny brush!”? Yes, exactly.

Moving to the device itself, the Switch looks a bit like a long, slim lipstick holder. It has a squarish cross section and while it’s a good bit chunkier than the iQOS holder it’s only about half an inch longer. It isn’t much heavier either, which I like. I suspect pretty much the whole thing is plastic, but it feels pretty sturdy. Everything is nicely moulded and the body and top cap fit together well. It’s also very light, which with a device this small is a real plus for reasons I’ll get to later.

The Switch is a simple device. The body has a top cap that slides off for cleaning; a plastic cage inside this holds the HEET, and of course there’s a hole in the top. Inside, there’s a spike-shaped ceramic heating element. There’s only one control on the body – a square power button with an LED-illuminated surround. A micro-USB charging port on the base, and a nice Switch logo, complete the package. As I said, simple. Overall, after poking around in the box and playing with the Switch, I was pretty impressed and very keen to try it out.


Vaping the Switch

I have no idea about the Switch’s battery capacity but obviously, given the size of the device, it wasn’t going to be enormous. The benefit of that is a quick charging time; a full charge takes less than 45 minutes. Once the red light behind the power button changed to blue, I broke open a pack of my favourite Bronze HEETs and slotted one into the hole at the top.

To activate the Switch you just need to hold down the power button; after three seconds the device vibrates and the button lights up with a nice pulsing glow. It took bang on 20 seconds to heat up to operating temperature, which is nothing special compared to the Lil or NOS but definitely acceptable; when it gets there it lets you know by vibrating again, and the pulsing button changes to a steady glow.

The Switch has a two-level temperature control function. Any time it’s powered up you can switch between modes with two rapid presses on the power button. When it’s in normal temperature mode the button glows blue; switch to high temperature and it changes to purple.

Anyway, how does it vape? Pretty well! I tried it in both temperature modes. At the standard setting there was plenty of vapour and the flavour was excellent. It isn’t quite as good as the iQOS, but it’s very close. The vapour is also warm, and both quantity and flavour hold up well until the end of the session – the Switch shuts off automatically after four minutes or (I think) twelve puffs, with a warning vibration when you have 20 seconds or two puffs to go.

Changing up to the high temperature setting, I personally found the vape more satisfying, although I did smoke fearsome high-tar German cigarettes. On the down side both flavour and quantity of vapour started to fall off noticeably towards the end of each session, so I’d suggest that for most people the standard mode is the way to go.


I mentioned that I liked the Switch’s small size and light weight. I’m a writer, and I can write a lot faster and more accurately when I have both hands free. That means I have a slight problem with larger devices, in that I can either try to type one-handed until I’ve finished a HEET, or I can put the device down between puffs. The problem with putting it down is that, at least half the time, I promptly get caught up in what I’m doing and forget about it until a buzz reminds me that I’ve just wasted most of a HEET. That’s one reason I love the iQOS so much; I can leave it dangling from my lip like a real cigarette and puff away freely while I write.

Well, the Switch is just small and light enough that I can do the same with it. A couple of times the device ended up in my lap while the HEET stayed in my mouth, but in general it worked pretty well. As of now, if iQOS disappeared from the face of the Earth tomorrow the Switch would probably become my main HnB device.

On the down side, that small size comes with a major penalty – battery capacity. iQOS gets round this by using the PCC to recharge between sessions, but with Switch you need to plug it in. Unfortunately you’re going to have to do that pretty often, because the battery only holds enough juice for nine HEETs before the power button turns red. It does recharge quickly though, so carrying a small power bank and topping up from that between HEETs should get you through the day.

Apart from recharging, care of the Switch was pretty easy. Because the element is a spike rather than a blade you can give used HEETs a twist then pull them out; alternatively just slide the top cap off and the HEET will come with it. Cleaning was easy, thanks to the nice big heating chamber, and the supplied brush worked well.

The verdict

Overall I was very impressed with the Switch. Its big drawback is the short battery life, but that’s only to be expected from a device this compact. There’s a direct correlation between battery capacity and size, and if you want a small device you have to settle for a small battery. Apart from that, though, it’s great. The vape is good, it seems well-made and durable, and the complete package is by far the most compact HnB device I’ve seen yet. Yes, the iQOS holder is smaller, but it lives in the PCC. The Switch is a standalone device that isn’t much bigger than an iQOS holder, and I think that alone makes it an attractive option.

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Exclusive HnB UK review – the QoQ Honor

QoQ Honor

If you’re interested in vaping as well as Heat not Burn you’re probably familiar with the great clone debate. Within days of a new vapour product  appearing, whether it’s the latest must-have atomiser or an expensive custom mod, a dozen Chinese factories are cranking out reproductions at a fraction of the price. Some vapers (and most manufacturers) hate this; others think it’s a great way of giving more people access to the latest and best gear.

Well, so far the HnB industry hasn’t suffered – or benefited, depending on your point of view – from cloning, but for a while last week I did wonder. I’ve just spent a few days testing a brand new device that looks very like one I reviewed a few weeks ago. Is it a clone? Not exactly, as it turns out, but there’s definitely been some inspiration drawn.

My latest harm reduction toy is the Honor from QoQ. Before you start Googling, this device is so new that it isn’t on the market yet (yes, it’s yet another exclusive from the dedicated team at Heat not Burn UK) but it should be available soon. Is it worth buying when it does hit the shops? Well, you’re going to have to read on to find out!

QoQ actually contacted us a couple of months ago to let us know they were going to be displaying the Honor at a trade fair in Dortmund. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it down for that, but they kindly sent me an example to review. As I said, this device is as new as it gets, and like the VCOT I looked at last month the retail packaging isn’t ready yet. Obviously I can’t do the unboxing thing if I don’t have the box, so let’s just skip straight to the interesting part – the device itself.

The Review

Once I’d thanked the postman and ripped open the package I found myself holding a very ordinary German carrier bag with a small bundle of newspaper in it. At this point I really started to wonder about cloning, because when I unwrapped the paper my first thought was “They’ve sent me a Lil.”

They hadn’t, of course. Firstly, I noticed that this device is built very differently from the Lil. Secondly it has a nice QoQ logo laser-etched on the front. Finally, the Lil didn’t come in pink the last time I checked. There’s a very strong resemblance between the two, though – much too strong to be a coincidence. It’s very obvious that when QoQ started to work on the Honor they took the Lil as their starting point.

Obviously this isn’t exactly unusual in industry. Equally obviously there are two ways to go about it. You can simply reverse engineer someone else’s product, maybe making just enough tweaks to get around all those pesky patent laws (although Chinese e-cig makers just don’t seem to care). Alternatively you can follow the same basic concept and develop it into a new product. Once I’d played with the Honor for a couple of minutes – poking and prodding it, playing with the moving parts and tapping it on things – it was pretty clear that QoQ had followed the second route. The Honor looks like the Lil’s twin, but there are a lot of differences.

The biggest difference is how it’s built. Both the original Lil and the new Lil Solid have plastic cases, although they feel like there’s metal underneath in the main body. The QoQ Honor is a much more solid device; both the main body and the top cap are solid aluminium. The metalwork is very nicely done, with a deep anodised finish (pink on mine, but there you go) and a good, if not quite perfect, fit between the two parts. The top cap is a very similar design to the Lil’s – so similar, in fact, that I checked if they’re interchangeable (they’re not). It just slips over the heating chamber and has a magnet to stop it sliding off again.

Again like the Lil, there’s a sliding metal button on top that covers the tobacco stick holder, but rather than the Lil’s plastic button – which slides in a stamped metal top plate – this one is nicely machined alloy just like the casing. Under the top cover is the heating chamber, complete with a removable plastic insert that pulls out for cleaning. This insert is interchangeable with both the Lil and Lil Solid, even though they’re not interchangeable with each other. Strange but true. As for sticks, QoQ say the Honor is compatible with all 7.2mm tobacco sticks. Basically that means PMI’s HEETs and KT&G’s Fiit.

The main control on the Honor is the power button on one side of the case. This feels like metal and has a battery status LED set into it, but it’s not quite as solid as I’d like. It’s nicely clicky, but wobbles slightly when I put my thumb on it. Still, it works well enough. On the base of the device is a micro-USB charging port and another button, very small and almost flush with the case. I’ll come back to that in a minute.

Obviously I have nothing to say about the accessories, because my Honor didn’t come with any, but the device itself is well made and very solid. The all-metal body gives it a very high quality feel, and the Lil-style design makes for a unit that’s small and slim enough to hold easily but large enough to contain a decent battery.

Anyway, enough of my rambling about what a nice gadget it is. Let’s see if it works.

Vaping the Honor

My first attempt to use the Honor was, I have to say, a bit of a failure; it wouldn’t power up. I’d topped up the battery, so I knew it wasn’t that (a full charge takes about 90 minutes, by the way), and I tried every possible way of pressing the power button I could think of. I gave it three fast clicks, then five. I held it down until my thumb ached. I jabbed it in frustration and smacked it on the edge of my desk – the case really is pretty sturdy – and finally I called QoQ to say it didn’t work.

So, that little button beside the USB port? It’s the on/off switch. Hold it down for three seconds, until the unit vibrates and the status LED blinks through a brief colour sequence, and you’re ready to get started. Just slide back the top button, push a HEET into the chamber and hold down the power button for three seconds until it vibrates again and the status LED starts to pulse. Then all you have to do is wait until it heats up, which takes around 20 seconds – not spectacularly fast, but not slow either. When it vibrates again and the LED glows steadily, it’s ready to vape. You’re not going to miss the vibration on this device, by the way; it’s powerful and accompanied by a loud buzz.

As for the actual vaping experience, the Honor is impressive. The first eight to ten puffs deliver plenty of vapour; the flavour comes through very well, and the vapour is warm and dense on the standard setting. It does fall off quite sharply after that, though. The first few puffs seem to pretty much dry out the stick, so while vaping quality is nearly as good as iQOS at first, it doesn’t stay that way all through the session. It’s still good, though – very close to the Lil.

Each session with the Honor is set to four minutes and 20 seconds; at the four-minute point it vibrates to let you know time’s nearly up. It will also buzz if you reach 14 puffs before the timer runs out; when that happens you have two more puffs before it switches off. The problem – and several other devices have it too – is that a HEET doesn’t really last for that many puffs. Ten or twelve is about right.

The Honor has two other features worth noting. One is that it has dual temperature modes; to switch between them turn the device off, then click the on/off button three times. The unit will vibrate and the status LED will blink a few times – green for normal mode, or yellow for low temperature. The low temperature mode might suit you if you prefer very mild cigarettes, but I found it a bit anaemic and stuck with the standard temperature.

I’ve looked at a couple of HnB systems with temperature control now, so while this is a bonus it isn’t anything radical. The Honor’s other extra feature is quite radical, though. If you double-click the power button during a vaping session, it puts the device into pause mode. That will halt the heating timer so it doesn’t shut itself down while you’re away. If you’re half way through a HEET and need to answer the door or put the cat out, this is pretty handy. Once you’ve signed for your parcel or pitched the furball out into the rain, just double click again to restart the timer and carry on vaping. QoQ recommend you only pause once during each session, and I’d agree with that; I gave one HEET three one-minute pauses, and the traces of weak vapour it was still producing after the last one tasted pretty awful.

QoQ say the Honor has a 2,400mAh internal battery, which I believe is a standard 18650 cell. That’s smaller than the 2,900mAh boasted by both Lil and iQOS, and this shows up in shorter battery life. According to the product literature I was sent, a single charge is good for 25 sticks. I would say 20 is more realistic. That’s still reasonable; it just doesn’t come close to the new iQOS 2.4 Plus.

Maintenance of the Honor is exactly the same as the LiL. Because it uses a ceramic spike as the heating element, rather than a blade, it helps to give used HEETs a twist before removing them; that reduces the chance of the tobacco being left on the spike. If that does happen just take off the top cap and remove the insert from the chamber. The tobacco will come out with it. There were no cleaning accessories with my Honor (there will be in the retail packaging) so I just used a Lil brush, which worked fine.


Overall the QoQ Honor is an impressive device. With the same handy form factor as Lil, but a higher quality (and absolutely rock solid) case, it’s a great portable option; while it’s a lot bigger than the iQOS holder, it’s less than half the size of the portable charging case. Battery life is decent if nothing special, and the all-important vape is in the upper half of the devices we’ve tested.

My personal preference is still for the iQOS 2.4 Plus, with its compact holder and outstanding battery life, but if you like the style of the Lil this is definitely a good alternative. The case really is nice – by far the nicest, and toughest, I’ve seen yet on a HnB device. Performance is good, and the pause feature is a nice touch that some people will find useful.

So, in conclusion, the Honor from QoQ is a very nice Heat not Burn product with some interesting features and fantastic build quality. If you want to check out a few systems before buying, this one is definitely worth a look!


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