A battery-powered tobacco heating device normally comprises three main sections: a disposable or rechargeable battery section, a heating chamber with the necessary control circuitry to regulate the heating temperature, and the tobacco consumable (usually in the form of a rod) from which the aerosol is produced. These battery-powered electronic devices typically look like an electronic cigarette, but other designs exist.
For a carbon fuel tobacco heating product, the tobacco section is made with reconstituted tobacco leaves and a filter (of low filtration efficiency) as the mouthpiece. It is normally made to resemble a conventional cigarette and lit in the conventional manner. During use, air is heated as it is drawn through the lit carbon source. The hot air then passes through the tobacco, extracting flavour and releasing nicotine to form a vapour. This vapour, which also contains aerosol agent such as glycerol and water, then passes through the filter and is delivered as an aerosol stream.
Both types of tobacco heating product contain tobacco or reconstituted tobacco as the main source of aerosol, thus aiming to produce a taste closer to cigarette smoke. They do not ‘burn down’ or emit a strong smell like a conventional cigarette, and the tobacco within maintains its physical integrity after use.