Tea leaves are usually associated with drinks. We all know that tea drinks are widely accepted, mainly because of their unique flavor and positive benefits to the human body. But what if tea leaves are inhaled like tobacco?
In recent years, a newer product category – heated tea cigarettes(usually referred to as heated tea sticks) has become a growing trend, which is mainly due to the tightened tobacco control policy and people’s rising awareness of the harm of tobacco use.
Just as its name suggests, heated tea sticks take tea as the main base material to replace tobacco, and after heating, it generates steam inhaled by users.
So, is heated tea sticks a better alternative to smoking? Could it help smokers to quit smoking? Keep reading to look for the answers.
What is the scientific principle behind heated tea sticks?
The working science of heated tea sticks is different from that of traditional cigarettes. When in use, the traditional cigarette is lit up with an open flame and burns to a high temperature between 350 °C and 650°C, and the highest temperature can reach 900°C, releasing nicotine-containing cigarette smoke inhaled by users.
Cigarette smoke is accompanied by its by-products, such as carbon monoxide, tar, ash, and particles. It has been confirmed that tobacco burning produces about 7000 chemicals, of which about 250 are known to be toxic, and 69 compounds are found to be carcinogenic.
People will inhale these toxic chemicals when they smoke or are exposed to cigarette smoke, which will increase their risk of cancers, especially lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke, and various chronic diseases.
To put it simply, it is the working science of traditional cigarettes – tobacco burning that makes smoking a killer.
Unlike traditional cigarettes, heated tea sticks do not burn. Instead, they adopt a heat-not-burn (HNB) technology, which heats the stick without burning, releasing an aerosol or steam for users to take in.
As heated tea sticks do not involve combustion, they do not produce cigarette smoke and its residues, thus greatly reducing the toxins related to smoking. For this reason, heated tea sticks are promoted as a less harmful alternative to regular cigarettes.
A heat-not-burn device usually includes a battery-powered hand-held heating device and heated sticks. Different brands of heating devices may use different heating methods or systems. Some are equipped with a heating blade, which penetrates the end of the stick and heats it from the inside out, while others use a heating chamber to heat the stick from the outside. Despite the different heating methods, all heat-not-burn heating devices can prevent the sticks from burning.
Heated tea sticks can be compatible with most heat-not-burn heating devices in the market, such as IQOS. This makes it convenient to switch from heated tobacco products to heated tea sticks.
Why choose tea as the main material of heated sticks?
It is well known that traditional cigarettes or other forms of tobacco products, such as heated tobacco products, are all based on tobacco. Tobacco contains nicotine, a highly addictive substance – most people use tobacco products because of it.
While burning tobacco produces an unparalleled taste, nicotine, and smoking experience, it might not sound all too appealing if heated because heated tobacco can not come close to the taste and smell of combusted tobacco.
As a result, some people just find that they can not get used to heated tobacco, even though these products provide them with nicotine satisfaction and a smoking ritual similar to traditional cigarettes.
On the contrary, tea lends itself well to heating. Tea has been heated up (typically in water) for consumption for thousands of years and has been loved by people all over the world for its delicious flavor, smell, and rejuvenating effect.
Besides, using tea as the main substance to replace tobacco in heated sticks can avoid the adverse consequences of tobacco. For example, tobacco itself might contain toxic heavy metals such as lead, and radioactive substances, which will accumulate during its planting and be harmful to people’s health.
Tea does not have these downsides. Instead, the potential beneficial effects of tea have been extensively investigated and documented. For instance, tea is known to boast various health benefits, such as calming the nerve, lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease, and reducing fats, etc.
Additionally, tobacco has another annoying disadvantage – due to its harsh smell, it can cause bad breath, which will affect people’s social and professional life. Tea, oppositely, can refresh the breath because of its fresh and pleasant taste.
Tea has another advantage compared with tobacco, that is, tea is easy for flavor infusion, while tobacco is not. When mixed with other flavors, tobacco will mask most flavorings due to its strong smell. Tea, instead, can be well combined with many kinds of flavors, and the mixture can enhance the taste experience, creating a rich and enjoyable taste to meet everyone’s needs.
With all these advantages, tea is an ideal ingredient for heat-not-burn products.
How can heated tea sticks help with quitting smoking?
Smoking is considered to be the hardest habit to quit, which is due to many factors, such as nicotine craving and other withdrawal symptoms, smoking habit, social factors, etc., among which nicotine dependence is the biggest obstacle.
To help smokers quit smoking in a natural way, tea-heated sticks are designed to come close to the satisfaction, smoking experience, and ritual of traditional cigarettes. For example, heated tea sticks usually contain nicotine comparable to traditional cigarettes so that smokers can get the same nicotine satisfaction as smoking, which helps them overcome their cravings for nicotine.
Apart from providing nicotine hits, the heated tea sticks can give users a sensory experience of smoking by replicating the appearance and smoking process of traditional cigarettes, such as hand-to-mouth movement and inhalation and exhalation. In short, tea-heated sticks are designed to make users feel like smoking.
Heated tea sticks provide a harm-reduced approach to smoking by kicking off tobacco and the burning process of raw materials without exposing users to toxic smoke, ash, tar, and smell.
On the other side, the tea-heated sticks can help smokers to make a smooth transition by intimating the appearance, nicotine fit, feeling, and ritual of traditional cigarettes, which bring users the satisfaction and sensory experience of smoking.
So, if you intend to drop conventional cigarettes but are not ready to give up the nicotine hits and the feel of smoking, moving to heated tea sticks will be a suitable choice.