A combustible cigarette and a non-combustible cigarette are different in the way they are made and consumed.
A combustible cigarette has tobacco leaves wrapped in cigarette paper and possibly a filter, chemical additives and other components. The tobacco is burned, and the user inhales the smoke.
The non-combustible cigarette has a heating source and tobacco and is sometimes wrapped in cigarette paper. The major difference is that a non-combustible cigarette is heated at a lower temperature, creating an aerosol the user inhales. In an e-cigarette, a liquid with nicotine and other ingredients is heated to create an inhaled aerosol. The FDA considers a tobacco product to be a cigarette if the product heats high enough to cause combustion.
There are currently two non-combustible cigarettes in the U.S. market. The first has a carbon tip wrapped in glass fibers. The tip is heated, heating the dry tobacco inside but at a temperature low enough that it does not produce ash. The second non-combustible cigarette has only been on the market since April 2019. It has an electronic heating device that heats sticks of dried tobacco in paper.
The FDA stressed that there are no safe tobacco products and all tobacco products can cause nicotine addiction and can cause cancer. However, non-combustible cigarettes may reduce the risk of tobacco-related illnesses when completely replacing combusted cigarettes.