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1. WO2020193229 - Smoking substitute device with shroud

Note: Text based on automatic Optical Character Recognition processes. Please use the PDF version for legal matters

[ EN ]

Smoking substitute device with shroud

Field of the Disclosure

The present disclosure relates to the field of smoking tobacco. In particular, the present disclosure relates to smoking substitute systems and particularly, although not exclusively, to a heat-not-burn (HNB) smoking substitute system. Further in particular, the present disclosure relates to a smoking substitute system having a shroud.

Background

The smoking of tobacco is generally considered to expose a smoker to potentially harmful substances. It is generally thought that a significant amount of the potentially harmful substances are generated through the heat caused by the burning and/or combustion of the tobacco and the constituents of the burnt tobacco in the tobacco smoke itself.

Conventional combustible smoking articles, such as cigarettes, typically comprise a cylindrical rod of tobacco comprising shreds of tobacco which is surrounded by a wrapper, and usually also a cylindrical filter axially aligned in an abutting relationship with the wrapped tobacco rod. The filter typically comprises a filtration material which is circumscribed by a plug wrap. The wrapped tobacco rod and the filter are joined together by a wrapped band of tipping paper that circumscribes the entire length of the filter and an adjacent portion of the wrapped tobacco rod. A conventional cigarette of this type is used by lighting the end opposite to the filter, and burning the tobacco rod. The smoker receives mainstream smoke into their mouth by drawing on the mouth end or filter end of the cigarette.

Combustion of organic material such as tobacco is known to produce tar and other potentially harmful byproducts. There have been proposed various smoking substitute systems (or“substitute smoking systems”) in order to avoid the smoking of tobacco.

Such smoking substitute systems can form part of nicotine replacement therapies aimed at people who wish to stop smoking and overcome a dependence on nicotine.

Smoking substitute systems include electronic systems that permit a user to simulate the act of smoking by producing an aerosol (also referred to as a“vapour”) that is drawn into the lungs through the mouth (inhaled) and then exhaled. The inhaled aerosol typically bears nicotine and/or flavourings without, or with fewer of, the odour and health risks associated with traditional smoking.

In general, smoking substitute systems are intended to provide a substitute forthe rituals of smoking, whilst providing the user with a similar experience and satisfaction to those experienced with traditional smoking and with combustible tobacco products. Some smoking substitute systems use smoking substitute articles that are designed to resemble a traditional cigarette and are cylindrical in form with a mouthpiece at one end.

The popularity and use of smoking substitute systems has grown rapidly in the past few years. Although originally marketed as an aid to assist habitual smokers wishing to quit tobacco smoking, consumers are increasingly viewing smoking substitute systems as desirable lifestyle accessories.

There are a number of different categories of smoking substitute systems, each utilising a different smoking substitute approach.

One approach for a smoking substitute system is the so-called "heat not burn" (“HNB”) approach in which tobacco (rather than an“e-liquid”) is heated or warmed to release vapour. The tobacco may be leaf tobacco or reconstituted tobacco. The vapour may contain nicotine and/or flavourings. In the HNB approach the intention is that the tobacco is heated but not burned, i.e. the tobacco does not undergo combustion.

A typical HNB smoking substitute system may include a device and a consumable. The consumable may include the tobacco material. The device and consumable may be configured to be physically coupled together. In use, heat may be imparted to the tobacco material by a heating element of the device, wherein airflow through the tobacco material causes moisture in the tobacco material to be released as vapour. A vapour may also be formed from a carrier in the tobacco material (this carrier may for example include propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine) and additionally volatile compounds released from the tobacco. The released vapour may be entrained in the airflow drawn through the tobacco.

As the vapour passes through the consumable (entrained in the airflow) from an inlet to a mouthpiece (outlet), the vapour cools and condenses to form an aerosol for inhalation by the user. The aerosol will normally contain the volatile compounds.

In HNB smoking substitute systems, heating as opposed to burning the tobacco material is believed to cause fewer, or smaller quantities, of the more harmful compounds ordinarily produced during smoking. Consequently, the HNB approach may reduce the odour and/or health risks that can arise through the burning, combustion and pyrolytic degradation of tobacco.

There may be a need for improved design of smoking substitute systems, in particular HNB smoking substitute systems, to enhance the user experience and improve the function of the HNB smoking substitute system.

The present disclosure has been devised in the light of the above considerations.

Summary of the Disclosure

At least one such need may be met with the subject-matter of the independent claims. Preferred embodiments may be taken from the dependent claims and are explained in more detail in the following description in relation to the provided drawings.

At its most general, the present disclosure relates to an aerosol-forming delivery system, e.g. a smoking substitute system such as an HNB system. More specifically, the present disclosure relates to a smoking substitute device having a shroud for thermally insulating or thermally separating a heating element, in particular an isolative, or insulated, shroud, in particular at least partially covering or surrounding a smoking substitute consumable.

According to a first aspect of the present disclosure, there is provided a smoking substitute device comprising a main body, a cavity and a heating element, wherein the cavity is arranged in the main body, wherein the heating element is arranged in the interior of the cavity, wherein the smoking substitute device is adapted for receiving a smoking substitute consumable, wherein the heating element is adapted for heating the smoking substitute consumable and wherein the smoking substitute device comprises a shroud at least partially surrounding the cavity, in particularly thermally insulating the heating element (14).

According to a further aspect of the present disclosure, there is provided a smoking substitute system comprising a smoking substitute device in accordance with the present disclosure and a smoking substitute consumable.

According to a third aspect of the present disclosure, there is provided a method of using a smoking substitute system according to the present disclosure, the method comprising inserting a smoking substitute consumable into a smoking substitute device and heating the smoking substitute consumable using a heating element.

Ideas and concepts of this disclosure may be considered to be based on the following observations and findings.

As mentioned before, the present disclosure is concerned with smoking substitute systems. A smoking substitute system may comprise a smoking substitute device or an aerosol-forming device, which may be a heat-not-burn (HNB) smoking substitute device. An HNB device is a device that is adapted for heating but not combusting the aerosol-forming substrate. This substrate may be made of tobacco material and may comprise additives assisting in the forming of the aerosol by the smoking substitute device. The smoking substitute device may comprise a main body for housing a heating element. The heating element may comprise an elongated, e.g. rod-shaped, tube-shaped or blade-shaped heating element. The heating

element may project into or surround a cavity within the main body of the smoking substitute device, which cavity is for receiving a smoking substitute consumable.

The smoking substitute device may comprise an electrical power supply, e.g. a (rechargeable) battery for powering the heating element. It may further comprise a control unit to control the supply of power to the heating element.

In some embodiments, when a consumable is inserted into the cavity within the main body, a portion of the smoking substitute consumable is penetrated by the heating element upon insertion of the smoking substitute consumable. In particular, the heating element may penetrate the smoking substitute consumable in an area of the consumable where the aerosol-forming substrate, e.g. tobacco material, is arranged.

The heating element is thus arranged inside of the smoking substitute consumable and in particular inside of the tobacco material. When energy is provided to the heating element, the heating element is heated to a target temperature, preferably in the range above the vaporization temperature of nicotine contained in the tobacco material, but below the temperature where the tobacco material would start to burn or combust. E.g., the heating element may be heated to a temperature of above 170°C, the vaporization temperature of nicotine, but below 400° C to avoid burning of the tobacco material in the consumable. Preferably, the target temperature may not exceed approx. 350°C.

Optional features will now be set out. These are applicable singly or in any combination with any aspect of the present disclosure. In the context of the specification, the terms isolating shroud, insulating shroud, isolative shroud and shroud shall be understood as exchangeable.

In accordance with the present disclosure, the smoking substitute device comprises a shroud. The in particular isolative shroud may be arranged in the vicinity of the heating element and may be arranged for maintaining or keeping heat energy within the smoking substitute device and shielding the heat generated within the smoking substitute device from the outside, e.g. from a user holding the smoking substitute device.

In other words, the isolative shroud may be arranged to keep heat energy contained within its interior, which in particular may receive the smoking substitute consumable while maintaining a substantially lower outside temperature, e.g. a cooler temperature suitable for contact with skin of a user so as to avoid injury due to heat. The isolative shroud may be embodied as an elongated, substantially cylindrical tube of suitable dimensions for receiving a smoking substitute consumable. During operation of the smoking substitute device, a consumable may be inserted into the cavity of the smoking substitute device and in particular into the isolative shroud surrounding the cavity. A heating element may be arranged in a central part of the cavity and the isolative shroud respectively so as to provide a source of heat within the interior volume of the isolative shroud.

E.g., the heating element may penetrate the smoking substitute consumable in an appropriate area or region to come into contact with tobacco material or another aerosol-forming substrate situated within at least a part of the smoking substitute consumable. The smoking substitute consumable in turn may be surrounded by the isolative shroud. In other words, an inserted smoking substitute consumable may be sandwiched between the heating element and the isolative shroud.

Heat generated by the heating element and released to the tobacco material thus heats the tobacco material to a desired temperature of operation. As mentioned before, the heating element is arranged within the tobacco material. During the process of heating or during operation of the smoking substitute device, tobacco material is substantially uniformly heated resulting in an outer surface area or peripheral region of the smoking substitute consumable to be heated to the temperature of operation as well. Accordingly, the isolative shroud surrounding at least a part of the smoking substitute consumable prevents heat from exiting the volume contained within the isolative shroud at least partially. In other words, the isolative shroud forms a protective barrier, in particular a heat barrier, between the interior of the isolative shroud containing the smoking substitute consumable and the heating element and the outside of the isolative shroud which may relate to an outside of the smoking substitute device with which a user may come into bodily contact with. Optional features will be set out now. These are applicable singly or in any combination with any aspect of the present disclosure.

The shroud may be coated in a thermally reflective substance to reflect heat towards the consumable to encourage internal heating and insulate the outer surface. The shroud may a tubular part into which the cavity for the consumable sits, in use. The shroud may extend at least the full length of the heater rod, may be part of the device, and may include engagement means to releasably engage the cap. The shroud may engage with the cavity, and may include a component (e.g. a hinged arm) that penetrates through the cavity wall for access from the cavity. The shroud may have an aperture for cleaning of the rod heater base. The aperture may be small enough to prevent a finger touching the rod heater. Increased isolation and heat retention may increase battery efficiency and may prevent reaching an outside of the device from going above a desired, in particular safe operating or handling temperature.

According to an embodiment of the present disclosure, the heating element may be arranged as a heater rod disposed with the main body and wherein the shroud (38) may enclose at least a portion of the heater rod so as to thermally isolate or insulate the heater rod.

According to an embodiment of the present disclosure, the cavity may be adapted for receiving the smoking substitute consumable and the isolative shroud may be at least partially surrounding at least a part of the received smoking substitute consumable.

By arranging the smoking substitute consumable in the interior of the isolative shroud, heat contained within aerosol generating material, e.g. tobacco material within the smoking substitute consumable, may be maintained inside of the isolative shroud while maintaining cooler surroundings.

According to a further embodiment of the present disclosure, the heating element may be adapted for penetrating the outer surface of the smoking substitute consumable to get into contact with tobacco material located inside the smoking substitute consumable upon insertion of the smoking substitute consumable into the smoking substitute device, for heating the tobacco material.

The tobacco material is thus sandwiched between the heating element and the isolative shroud to provide a volume of preferred heat transmission into the tobacco material while maintaining a cooler surrounding area.

According to a further embodiment of the present disclosure, the isolative shroud may be thermally insulating the interior of the isolative shroud from the exterior of the isolative shroud.

The isolative shroud is thus constituting a thermal barrier within the smoking substitute device, separating a volume of higher temperature in the interior of the isolative shroud from an outside with a reduced temperature.

According to a further embodiment of the present disclosure, the isolative shroud may be made of a polymer material, in particular may be made of polyether ether ketone (PEEK).

A polymer material may be a preferred material for forming an insulating element. PEEK is a linear, semicrystalline, thermoplastic high performance plastic (high performance material) with a very high melting temperature of over 330°C. PEEK has a very high temperature resistance and good chemical resistance. PEEK is resistant to almost all organic and inorganic chemicals, even to hydrolysis up to about 280°C. It has a very high continuous service temperature of up to 260°C and very high strength, very high rigidity and high toughness. Furthermore, PEEK has excellent abrasion resistance and excellent sliding properties as well as a low coefficient of linear thermal expansion. The plastic is flame retardant and self-extinguishing and produces very little smoke in the event of fire.

According to a further embodiment of the present disclosure, the interior of the isolative shroud may be coated with a thermally reflective coating for reflection of thermal energy towards the smoking substitute consumable.

An according heat reflecting coating may further enhance the barrier functionality of the isolative shroud insulating an interior of the shroud from an outside of the shroud.

According to a further embodiment of the present disclosure, the smoking substitute device may further comprise a second heating element, wherein the second heating element may be arranged between the smoking substitute consumable and the isolative shroud for heating at least a part of the outer surface of the smoking substitute consumable.

With an according arrangement, it may be possible to heat a smoking substitute consumable from both sides, i.e. from within by the first heating element as well as from the outside by the second heating element. Such may contribute to a more uniform heating of the tobacco material within the smoking substitute consumable. The second heating element may form integral part of the isolative shroud, or may be arranged as two separate devices which may be removable separate from each other from the smoking substitute device.

According to a further embodiment of the present disclosure, the heating element may be a rod-shaped heating element and the length of the isolative shroud may be at least the length of the rod-shaped heating element.

Accordingly, the isolative shroud may substantially completely encompass the heating element arranged within its interior, within the cavity respectively. The length of the isolative shroud may thus correspond to the length of the heating element.

According to a further embodiment of the present disclosure, the isolative shroud may comprise an aperture for allowing access to the interior of the cavity.

In particular, the aperture may allow access to the inside of the cavity for allowing access to the heating element. By said access, and in particular using an appropriate tool, the heating element may be cleaned. E.g., by an elongated cleaning element, the heating element may be cleaned by removing access or old tobacco material stuck to the heating element upon removal of the smoking substitute consumable.

According to a further embodiment of the present disclosure, the aperture may be located distal from an outward facing opening of the cavity.

In other words, the outward facing opening allows insertion of the smoking substitute consumable into the cavity while the aperture is arranged distal from said opening, e.g. at the base of the cavity close to the emerging heating element. In particular, in a case where the length of the isolative shroud is longer, in particular substantially longer, than the length of the heating element, arranging an aperture at the bottom of the cavity allows readily access to the heating element for cleaning purposes.

According to a further embodiment of the present invention, the aperture may be arranged in size such that a user of the smoking substitute device may not come into bodily contact with the heating element, in particular wherein the aperture on the shroud is sized to prevent finger access.

In other words, the aperture may be sized to accommodate a cleaning element while being too small to allow a user the touching of the heating elements, e.g. with their hands, in particular with a finger. By providing an accordingly sized aperture, injury of a user by a potentially still hot heating element may be prevented.

According to a further embodiment of the present disclosure, the smoking substitute device may be a heat-not-burn smoking substitute device. The skilled person will appreciate that except where mutually exclusive, a feature or parameter described in relation to any one of the above aspects may be applied to any other aspect. Furthermore, except where mutually exclusive, any feature or parameter described herein may be applied to any aspect and/or combined with any other feature or parameter described herein.

Summary of the Figures

So that the invention may be understood, and so that further aspects and features thereof may be appreciated, embodiments illustrating the principles of the invention will now be discussed in further detail with reference to the accompanying figures, in which:

Figure 1 shows a view of an exemplary embodiment of a smoking substitute device in accordance with the present invention;

Figure 2 shows exemplary embodiment of a smoking substitute device in accordance with the present invention; and

Figure 3 shows a schematics of an exemplary embodiment of a smoking substitute device in accordance with the present invention.

Detailed Description of the Figures

Fig. 1 shows a view of an exemplary embodiment of a smoking substitute device 10, here exemplarily an HNB device 10.

The HNB device 10 comprises a rod-shaped heating element 12, which projects into a cavity 14 within the main body 16 of the device 10. A smoking substitute consumable 20 may be inserted into the cavity 14 of the main body 12 of the device 10 such that the heating rod 12 penetrates an aerosol-forming substrate, e.g. tobacco material in one outer part, e.g. the lower part of the smoking substitute consumable 20, distal from an outward facing opening 42 of cavity 14. Heating of e.g. reconstituted tobacco in the aerosol-forming substrate is effected by powering the heating element 12, with a power source 18, e.g. a rechargeable battery 18 incorporated in the smoking substitute device 10. As the tobacco is heated, moisture and volatile compounds (e.g. nicotine) within the tobacco and possibly a humectant are released as a vapour and entrained within an airflow generated by inhalation by the user.

Heating of the tobacco by the heating element 12 may be activated by the user pressing an actuator 26, here exemplarily activation switch 26, on a side surface of the main body 16 of the smoking substitute device 10. Display element 28, here exemplarily a number of LEDs, is arranged in the vicinity of the activation switch 26 on the side surface of main body 16.

At the bottom of smoking substitute device 10, a charging connector 30 is depicted. The charging connector 30 may be embodied as a standard USB connector, e.g. mini-USB or micro-USC. Preferably, the charging connector 30 is embedded as a symmetrical connector, like a USB-C connector. Alternatively, the charging connector 30 may be embodied as a lightning connector. The charging connector 30 may provide a connection for either energy or data or both.

Now referring to Fig. 2, an exemplary embodiment of a smoking substitute device in accordance with the present invention is depicted.

Smoking substitute device 10, embodied as a heat-not-burn smoking substitute device, comprises main body 16 with a protruding heating element 12. Part of the main body 16 extends in the area of the heating element 12 thereby forming the cavity 14 for receiving a smoking substitute consumable 20. Smoking substitute consumable 20 is only indicated and about to be inserted into the cavity 14, indicated by the downward arrow in Fig. 2. Surrounding the cavity 14 is a shroud 38 substantially surrounding the cavity 14.

When the smoking substitute consumable 20 is inserted into the cavity 14, the shroud 38 covers an outer circumferential area of the smoking substitute consumable 20 thereby separating or isolating the outside of the shroud 38 from heat generated within the shroud 38 and in particular within the cavity 14 by heating element 12 for heating of aerosol releasing material within the smoking substitute consumable 20. In other words, the isolative shroud is providing a heat barrier between a heated smoking substitute consumable 20 and the outside of the smoking substitute device 10 such that a user of the smoking substitute device 10 may not come in contact with the heated smoking substitute consumable 20 or in case the area of the isolative shroud is indeed touched by the user, receives only a moderate heat not resulting in injury.

Shroud 38 comprises aperture 40 which is arranged distal from the outward facing opening 42 of cavity 14 and is thus arranged in the vicinity of heating element 12. The aperture may be used for cleaning heating element 12 e.g. by insertion of a suitable cleaning element into aperture 40 to scrub off excess tobacco material or residue tobacco material from heating element 12. At the same time, aperture 40 is small enough and distant enough from heating element 12 so that a user may not reach or come in contact with heating element 12 through aperture 40.

For operating the smoking substitute device 10, a control element 26, e.g. a button or activation switch, is provided which can further comprise a display element 28 for display of operation or other information to a user of the smoking substitute device 10.

Now referring to Fig. 3, which shows a schematics of an exemplary embodiment of a smoking substitute device in accordance with the present invention.

Smoking substitute device 10 comprises a main body 16 or housing and a power source 18, e.g. a rechargeable battery. Further provided is a control unit 32, which may include a microprocessor. Memory 34 is provided for storing e.g. control instructions for control unit 32 or the microprocessor. Memory 34 is preferably provided as non-volatile memory. Smoking substitute device 10 may further comprise a display element 28, which may be embodied as a single or a plurality of LEDs or organic LEDs. The LEDs are possibly adapted for displaying different colours in accordance with instructions from the control unit 32 and memory 34, depicting different modes of operation with different colours of smoking substitute device 10 or generally different information directed to the user operating the smoking substitute device 10. A control element 26 is provided, e.g. an actuator or activation switch, with which the smoking substitute device may be switched on and off, an operation may be initiated and/or a mode of operation may be set.

Further, an electrical interface 30 or charging connector 30 is provided, which may be incorporated in the main body 16 and which may include one or more electrical contacts. The electrical interface 30 may be located in, and preferably at the bottom of, an aperture in an end section of the main body 16. Electrical interface 30 may be adapted to be coupled with an external charging station to receive power for charging the power source 18. Alternatively, electrical interface 30 may be embodied as a charging connector 30, which may be a USB or lightning connection. Preferably, the charging connector 30 is embodied as a USB-C connector, which is an example of a symmetrical connector.

The features disclosed in the foregoing description, or in the following claims, or in the accompanying drawings, expressed in their specific forms or in terms of a means for performing the disclosed function, or a method or process for obtaining the disclosed results, as appropriate, may, separately, or in any combination of such features, be utilised for realising the invention in diverse forms thereof.

While the invention has been described in conjunction with the exemplary embodiments described above, many equivalent modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art when given this disclosure. Accordingly, the exemplary embodiments of the invention set forth above are considered to be illustrative and not limiting. Various changes to the described embodiments may be made without departing from the scope of the invention.

For the avoidance of any doubt, any theoretical explanations provided herein are provided for the purposes of improving the understanding of a reader. The inventors do not wish to be bound by any of these theoretical explanations.

Any section headings used herein are for organizational purposes only and are not to be construed as limiting the subject matter described.

Throughout this specification, including the claims which follow, unless the context requires otherwise, the words“have”,“comprise”, and“include”, and variations such as“having”,“comprises”,“comprising”, and “including” will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or step or group of integers or steps but not the exclusion of any other integer or step or group of integers or steps.

It must be noted that, as used in the specification and the appended claims, the singular forms“a,”“an,” and“the” include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Ranges may be expressed herein as from“about” one particular value, and/or to“about” another particular value. When such a range is expressed, another embodiment includes from the one particular value and/or to the other particular value. Similarly, when values are expressed as approximations, by the use of the antecedent“about,” it will be understood that the particular value forms another embodiment. The term“about” in relation to a numerical value is optional and means, for example, +/- 10%.

The words "preferred" and "preferably" are used herein refer to embodiments of the invention that may provide certain benefits under some circumstances. It is to be appreciated, however, that other embodiments may also be preferred under the same or different circumstances. The recitation of one or more preferred embodiments therefore does not mean or imply that other embodiments are not useful, and is not intended to exclude other embodiments from the scope of the disclosure, or from the scope of the claims.

Elements that are described in conjunction with different embodiments may be combined. Reference signs in the claims shall not to be construed as limiting the scope of the claims.

List of reference numerals

10 smoking substitute device/HNB smoking substitute device

12 heating element

14 cavity

16 main body

18 power source/battery

20 smoking substitute consumable

26 control element/actuator/activation switch

28 display element

30 charging connector

32 control unit/microprocessor

34 memory

38 shroud

40 aperture

42 outward facing opening of cavity