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1. WO2020193198 - SYSTÈME DE SUBSTITUTION À L'ACTE DE FUMER

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

[ EN ]

SMOKING SUBSTITUTE SYSTEM

TECHNICAL FIELD

[1] The present invention relates to a smoking substitute system and particularly, although not exclusively, to a smoking substitute system comprising a heat-not-burn device and an aerosol-forming article.

BACKGROUND

[2] 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.

[3] 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.

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

[5] 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.

[6] 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.

[7] In general, smoking substitute systems are intended to provide a substitute for the 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 (also referred to as a“consumables”) that are designed to resemble a traditional cigarette and are cylindrical in form with a mouthpiece at one end.

[8] 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.

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

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

[11] A typical HT 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 components 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.

[12] As the vapour passes through the consumable (entrained in the airflow) from the location of vaporisation to an outlet of the consumable (e.g. a mouthpiece), the vapour cools and condenses to form an aerosol for inhalation by the user. The aerosol will normally contain the volatile compounds.

[13] In HT 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 HT approach may reduce the odour and/or health risks that can arise through the burning, combustion and pyrolytic degradation of tobacco.

[14] When they are not in use, currently available HT smoking substitute devices usually enter into a standby operating mode. That is, the heater of such HT smoking substitute device may be reactivated upon receiving a single user press on its user interface. However, such device may present a hazard for unauthorised users, in particular minors. Furthermore the device, when bring transported and stored in the standby operating mode, may be inadvertently switched on when the user interface is pressed upon.

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

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

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[17] At its most general, the present invention relates to a heat-not-burn device configured to enter either a locked operating mode or a standby operating mode based on a user selection. To activate the heater from the locked operating mode, it may require a more complicated set of user input than a single user press, and thereby it may be childproofed or be able to provide an extra layer of protection against inadvertent activation of the device. However at the same time, it may be inconvenient for the user to input such a complicated set of user input before each and every use of the device. Therefore advantageously, the present invention may allow the user to select between the locked operating mode and the standby operation mode according to the user’s preferences.

[18] According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided heat-not-burn device, comprising: a controller; a heater; and a user interface; wherein the controller is configured to, based on a user selection received at the user interface, selectively enter into a locked operating mode or a standby operating mode, whereby the heater is deactivated in both operating modes; and wherein the controller is further configured to activate the heater upon receiving, at the user interface: i) a first predetermined user input when the device is entered in the locked operating mode or ii) a second predetermined user input different to the first predetermined user input when the device is entered in the standby operating mode.

[19] Generally, the heater may be deactivated when the device is entered into both the locked operating mode and the standby operating mode. However the controller, as well as other electronic components of the device such as the user interface may remain active or in operation when the device is entered into the locked operating mode and the standby operating mode.

[20] For example, whilst the heater is deactivated in both of the operating modes, they may each require a specific predetermined user input to reactivate the heater. More specifically, the first predetermined user input may be a set of user input that involve a more complicated technique than the second predetermined user input so as to avoid activating the heater in an unwarranted manner, e.g. the user may have to unlock the device to activate the heater. The second predetermined user input on the other hand, may be a much simpler input technique such that the user may activate the heater in a convenient manner.

[21] The heater may or may not activate upon receiving the first predetermined user input in the standby operating mode. For example, the heater may nevertheless activate upon receiving the first

predetermined user input if the second predetermined user input (e.g. a single user press) forms part of the first predetermined user input (e.g. a plurality of user presses). Alternatively, the heater may not activate upon receiving the first predetermined user input, even if the second predetermined user input (e.g. a single user press within a given time frame) forms part of the first predetermined user input (e.g. a plurality of user presses within a given time frame).

[22] The heater may not activate upon receiving the second predetermined user input, or any other user input other than the first predetermined user input, in the locked operating mode. Advantageously, this may prevent the heater from activating unless it receives the particular first predetermined user input. [23] Depending on the type of predetermined user input being applied, the user interface may comprise one or more of a user button, a keypad, a camera or a fingerprint reader. This may allow the

predetermined user input to be inputted in one or more possible ways.

[24] Optional features will now be set out. These are applicable singly or in any combination with any aspect.

[25] Optionally, said user selection comprises a predetermined user selection, and wherein the controller is configured to deactivate the heater upon detecting an occurrence of a predetermined event to enter the device into either the locked operating mode or the standby operating mode.

[26] For example, the predetermined user selection may be a user selection received prior to activation of the heater, and may be stored in a device memory. Therefore upon detecting an occurrence of the predetermined event, the controller may retrieve the predetermined user selection form the memory and upon deactivating the heater, the controller may enter the device into one of the locked or standby operating mode based on said predetermined user selection. Such predetermined user selection as stored in the memory may be overwritten once the user inputs a new user selection at the user interface. For example, the user may select the standby operating mode as default and as such the device may enter standby operating mode every time the heater has been deactivated. The user may occasionally select the locked operating mode and thereby overwrites the previous user selection, as desired.

[27] Advantageously, such arrangement simplifies the operating of the device because the user does not require inputting the user selection with every use.

[28] Optionally, the predetermined event comprises one or more of i) exhaustion or depletion of the consumable, ii) removal of the consumable from the device, iii) retraction of a cap of the device, and iv) elapse of a predetermined period of time since heater activation.

[29] The predetermined event may correspond to the expiry of a user session or a smoking session. For example, the controller may be configured to deactivate the heater automatically. Advantageously, this may allow the device to avoid overheating the heater or consumable and thereby reduced the associated risk, as well as reducing energy drain at the battery.

[30] The device may comprise one or more detectors for detecting said predetermined events. A microswitch or other means may be provided to detect relative movement between the cap, the consumable and the device and thereby signals the controller to deactivate the heater. A puff sensor may be provided to count the number of puffs taken and/or remaining before the consumable is exhausted.

For example, the controller may be configured to deactivate the heater once the number of puffs taken reaches a predetermined number of puffs allowable for a consumable. The controller may determine the time elapsed since heater activation or the last time a puff was taken, and may deactivate the heater once the time elapsed reaches a predetermined period of time.

[31] Alternatively or additionally, upon receiving the user selection at the user interface, the controller is configured to deactivate the heater and enter the device into either the locked operating mode or the standby operating mode. More specifically, the user selection may be received when the heater is

activated, e.g. during a user session. That is, the user selection received during a user session may deactivate the heater, e.g. the session may not terminate with the detection of an occurrence of a predetermined event as described, but may terminate base on receiving the user selection. Alternatively, the user selection received during a user session may not deactivate the heater, e.g. the session may continue and only terminates with the detection of an occurrence of a predetermined event as described. Furthermore, the user selection received during heater activation may overwrite the predetermined user selection as stored in the device memory.

[32] Optionally, the user selection comprises different selection inputs each for entering the device into a respective locked operation mode and a standby operation mode. For example, the selection input for entering into the locking operating mode may be holding a user press at the user interface for a given amount of time, e.g. at least two second, whereas the selection input for entering into the standby operating mode may be a plurality of shorter user press at the user interface each lasting less than a second, e.g. a number of taps on the user interface. The selection input may be inputted at the user interface before or during heater activation in a session.

[33] Optionally, the first predetermined user input comprises a plurality of user presses at the user interface and the second predetermined user input comprises one or more user presses at the user interface; wherein the number of user presses in the second predetermined user input is less than the number of user presses in the first predetermined input. The user interface may be a button or a touchpad. The user presses may be inputted at the user interface within a predetermined period. The user presses may inputted at the user interface as a user press sequence and at a predetermined frequency. For example, the number of user presses in the first predetermined sequence may be at least 3 presses, or in the range between 3 to 5 presses, preferably 5 presses. The number of user presses in the second predetermined sequence may be less than 3 presses, preferably a single user press.

Advantageously, such arrangement results in a significant differentiation between the first predetermined user input and the second predetermined user input, and thereby it may reduce the likelihood of activating the heater when the other user input other than the first predetermined user input is inputted at the user interface.

[34] Optionally, the first predetermined user input comprises at least one of a user password and a fingerprint input received at the interface. For example, the first predetermined user input may be a password or a code to be input at a keyboard or a keypad. The first predetermined user input may be a fingerprint recognisable at a finger print recogniser. Advantageously, this may allow the device to be locked from unauthorised users such as minors.

[35] Optionally, the second predetermined user input comprises a single user press at the user interface. For example, the single user press may be a short user press at the user interface lasting less than a second, or it may require a user to hold onto a user press at the user interface and lasting more than a second. Preferable the single user press may comprise a user press lasting less than a second such that the user may promptly activate the heater from a standby operating mode.

[36] Optionally, the device may comprise a user interface to receive the predetermined user input comprising at least one of user password, pressing of power button in a predetermined pattern for a predetermined time period and finger print detection.

[37] The device may comprise an elongate body. An end of the elongate body may be configured for engagement with an aerosol-forming article. For example, the body may be configured for engagement with a heated tobacco (HT) consumable (or heat-not-burn (HNB) consumable). The terms“heated tobacco” and“heat-not-burn” are used interchangeably herein to describe a consumable that is of the type that is heated rather than combusted (or are used interchangeably to describe a device for use with such a consumable). The device may comprise a cavity that is configured for receipt of at least a portion of the consumable (i.e. for engagement with the consumable). The aerosol-forming article may be of the type that comprises an aerosol former (e.g. carried by an aerosol-forming substrate).

[38] The device may comprise a heater for heating the aerosol-forming article. The heater may comprise a heating element, which may be in the form of a rod that extends from the body of the device. The heating element may extend from the end of the body that is configured for engagement with the aerosolforming article.

[39] The heater (and thus the heating element) may be rigidly mounted to the body. The heating element may be elongate so as to define a longitudinal axis and may, for example, have a transverse profile (i.e. transverse to a longitudinal axis of the heating element) that is substantially circular (i.e. the heating element may be generally cylindrical). Alternatively, the heating element may have a transverse profile that is rectangular (i.e. the heater may be a“blade heater”). The heating element may alternatively be in the shape of a tube (i.e. the heater may be a“tube heater”). The heating element may take other forms (e.g. the heating element may have an elliptical transverse profile). The shape and/or size (e.g. diameter) of the transverse profile of the heating element may be generally consistent for the entire length (or substantially the entire length) of the heating element.

[40] The heating element may be between 15 mm and 25 mm long, e.g. between 18 mm and 20 mm long, e.g. around 19 mm long. The heating element may have a diameter of between 1 .5 mm and 2.5 mm, e.g. a diameter between 2 mm and 2.3 mm, e.g. a diameter of around 2.15 mm.

[41] The heating element may be formed of ceramic. The heating element may comprise a core (e.g. a ceramic core) comprising AI203. The core of the heating element may have a diameter of 1 .8 mm to 2.1 mm, e.g. between 1 .9 mm and 2 mm. The heating element may comprise an outer layer (e.g. an outer ceramic layer) comprising AI203. The thickness of the outer layer may be between 160 pm and 220 pm, e.g. between 170 pm and 190 pm, e.g. around 180 pm. The heating element may comprise a heating track, which may extend longitudinally along the heating element. The heating track may be sandwiched between the outer layer and the core of the heating element. The heating track may comprise tungsten and/or rhenium. The heating track may have a thickness of around 20 pm.

[42] The heating element may be located in the cavity (of the device), and may extend (e.g. along a longitudinal axis) from an internal base of the cavity towards an opening of the cavity. The length of the heating element (i.e. along the longitudinal axis of the heater) may be less than the depth of the cavity.

Hence, the heating element may extend for only a portion of the length of the cavity. That is, the heating element may not extend through (or beyond) the opening of the cavity.

[43] The heating element may be configured for insertion into an aerosol-forming article (e.g. a HT consumable) when an aerosol-forming article is received in the cavity. In that respect, a distal end (i.e. distal from a base of the heating element where it is mounted to the device) of the heating element may comprise a tapered portion, which may facilitate insertion of the heating element into the aerosol-forming article. The heating element may fully penetrate an aerosol-forming article when the aerosol-forming article is received in the cavity. That is, the entire length, or substantially the entire length, of the heating element may be received in the aerosol-forming article.

[44] The heating element may have a length that is less than, or substantially the same as, an axial length of an aerosol-forming substrate forming part of an aerosol-forming article (e.g. a HT consumable). Thus, when such an aerosol-forming article is engaged with the device, the heating element may only penetrate the aerosol-forming substrate, rather than other components of the aerosol-forming article. The heating element may penetrate the aerosol-forming substrate for substantially the entire axial length of the aerosol forming-substrate of the aerosol-forming article. Thus, heat may be transferred from (e.g. an outer circumferential surface of) the heating element to the surrounding aerosol-forming substrate, when penetrated by the heating element. That is, heat may be transferred radially outwardly (in the case of a cylindrical heating element) or e.g. radially inwardly (in the case of a tube heater).

[45] Where the heater is a tube heater, the heating element of the tube heater may surround at least a portion of the cavity. When the portion of the aerosol-forming article is received in the cavity, the heating element may surround a portion of the aerosol-forming article (i.e. so as to heat that portion of the aerosol-forming article). In particular, the heating element may surround an aerosol forming substrate of the aerosol-forming article. That is, when an aerosol-forming article is engaged with the device, the aerosol forming substrate of the aerosol-forming article may be located adjacent an inner surface of the (tubular) heating element. When the heating element is activated, heat may be transferred radially inwardly from the inner surface of the heating element to heat the aerosol forming substrate.

[46] The cavity may comprise a (e.g. circumferential) wall (or walls) and the (tubular) heating element may extend around at least a portion of the wall(s). In this way, the wall may be located between the inner surface of the heating element and an outer surface of the aerosol-forming article. The wall (or walls) of the cavity may be formed from a thermally conductive material (e.g. a metal) to allow heat conduction from the heating element to the aerosol-forming article. Thus, heat may be conducted from the heating element, through the cavity wall (or walls), to the aerosol-forming substrate of an aerosolforming article received in the cavity.

[47] In some embodiments the device may comprise a cap disposed at the end of the body that is configured for engagement with an aerosol-forming article. Where the device comprises a heater having a heating element, the cap may at least partially enclose the heating element. The cap may be moveable between an open position in which access is provided to the heating element, and a closed position in

which the cap at least partially encloses the heating element. The cap may be slideably engaged with the body of the device, and may be slideable between the open and closed positions.

[48] The cap may define at least a portion of the cavity of the device. That is, the cavity may be fully defined by the cap, or each of the cap and body may define a portion of the cavity. Where the cap fully defines the cavity, the cap may comprise an aperture for receipt of the heating element into the cavity (when the cap is in the closed position). The cap may comprise an opening to the cavity. The opening may be configured for receipt of at least a portion of an aerosol-forming article. That is, an aerosolforming article may be inserted through the opening and into the cavity (so as to be engaged with the device).

[49] The cap may be configured such that when an aerosol-forming article is engaged with the device (e.g. received in the cavity), only a portion of the aerosol-forming article is received in the cavity. That is, a portion of the aerosol-forming article (not received in the cavity) may protrude from (i.e. extend beyond) the opening. This (protruding) portion of the aerosol-forming article may be a terminal (e.g. mouth) end of the aerosol-forming article, which may be received in a user’s mouth for the purpose of inhaling aerosol formed by the device.

[50] The device may comprise a power source or may be connectable to a power source (e.g. a power source separate to the device). The power source may be electrically connectable to the heater. In that respect, altering (e.g. toggling) the electrical connection of the power source to the heater may affect a state of the heater. For example, toggling the electrical connection of the power source to the heater may toggle the heater between an on state and an off state. The power source may be a power store. For example, the power source may be a battery or rechargeable battery (e.g. a lithium ion battery).

[51] The device may comprise an input connection (e.g. a USB port, Micro USB port, USB-C port, etc.). The input connection may be configured for connection to an external source of electrical power, such as a mains electrical supply outlet. The input connection may, in some cases, be used as a substitute for an internal power source (e.g. battery or rechargeable battery). That is, the input connection may be electrically connectable to the heater (for providing power to the heater). Hence, in some forms, the input connection may form at least part of the power source of the device.

[52] Where the power source comprises a rechargeable power source (such as a rechargeable battery), the input connection may be used to charge and recharge the power source.

[53] The device may comprise a user interface (Ul). In some embodiments the Ul may include input means to receive operative commands from the user. For example, the Ul may be configured to receive user input or user presses, i.e. the first predetermined user input, the second predetermined user input and/or the user selection, e.g. selection input. Specifically, the user input comprises at least one of user password, pressing of power button (user press) and finger print detection. The input means of the Ul may also allow the user to control at least one aspect of the operation of the device. In some

embodiments the input means may comprise a power button to switch the device between an on state and an off state.

[54] In some embodiments the Ul may additionally or alternatively comprise output means to convey information to the user. In some embodiments, the output means may be configured to indicate to the user the current operating mode of the device. In some embodiments the output means may comprise a light to indicate a condition of the device (and/or the aerosol-forming article) to the user. The condition of the device (and/or aerosol-forming article) indicated to the user may comprise a condition indicative of the operation of the heater. For example, the condition may comprise whether the heater is in an off state or an on state. In some embodiments, the Ul unit may comprise at least one of a button, a display, a touchscreen, a switch, a light, and the like. For example, the output means may comprise one or more (e.g. two, three, four, etc.) light-emitting diodes (“LEDs”) that may be located on the body of the device.

[55] The device may further comprise a puff sensor (e.g. airflow sensor), which form part of the input means of the Ul. The puff sensor may be configured to detect a user drawing on an end (i.e. a terminal (mouth) end) of the aerosol-forming article. The puff sensor may, for example, be a pressure sensor or a microphone. The puff sensor may be configured to produce a signal indicative of a puff state. The signal may be indicative of the user drawing (an aerosol from the aerosol-forming article) such that it is e.g. in the form of a binary signal. Alternatively or additionally, the signal may be indicative of a characteristic of the draw (e.g. a flow rate of the draw, length of time of the draw, etc.). In some embodiment, the device may include one or more other type of detectors or sensors such as motion sensors, pressure sensors, microswitches etc. to detect an occurrence of a predetermined event. Said predetermined event may comprises one or more of (i)exhaustion or depletion of the consumable, (ii) removal of the consumable from the device, (iii) retraction of cap of the device, and (iv) elapse of a predetermined period of time since heater activation or the last puff taken.

[56] The device may comprise a controller or may be connectable to a controller that may be configured to control at least one function of the device. The controller may comprise a microcontroller that may e.g. be mounted on a printed circuit board (PCB). The controller may also comprise a memory, e.g. nonvolatile memory. The memory may include instructions, which, when implemented, may cause the controller to perform certain tasks or steps of a method. Where the device comprises an input connection, the controller may be connected to the input connection.

[57] The controller may be configured to control the operation of the heater (and e.g. the heating element). Thus, the controller may be configured to control vaporisation of an aerosol forming part of an aerosol-forming article engaged with the device. Further, the controller may be configured to, based on a user selection received at the user interface, selectively enter into a locked operating mode or a standby operating mode. Further, the controller may be configured to activate the heater upon receiving, at the user interface: i) a first predetermined user input when the device is entered in the locked operating mode or ii) a second predetermined user input different to the first predetermined user input when the device is entered in the standby operating mode.

[58] In addition, the controller may be configured to control the voltage applied by power source to the heater. For example, the controller may be configured to toggle between applying a full output voltage (of the power source) to the heater and applying no voltage to the heater. Alternatively or additionally, the control unit may implement a more complex heater control protocol.

[59] The device may further comprise a voltage regulator to regulate the output voltage supplied by the power source to form a regulated voltage. The regulated voltage may subsequently be applied to the heater. In some embodiment, the voltage regulator may be configured to regulate the output voltage supplied by the power source to the heater in both the locked operating mode and standby operating mode. For example, during the locked operating mode and the standby operating mode the voltage regulator may not permit the power source to supply any power to the heater.

[60] In some embodiments, where the device comprises a Ul, the controller may be operatively connected to one or more components of the Ul. The controller may be configured to receive command signals from an input means of the Ul. The controller may be configured to control the heater in response to the command signals. For example, the controller may be configured to receive“on” and“off command signals from the Ul and, in response, may control the heater so as to be in a corresponding on or off state.

[61] The controller may be configured to send output signals to a component of the Ul. The Ul may be configured to convey information to a user, via an output means, in response to such output signals (received from the controller). For example, where the device comprises one or more LEDs, the LEDs may be operatively connected to the controller. Hence, the controller may configured to control the illumination of the LEDs (e.g. in response to an output signal). For example, the controller may be configured to control the illumination of the LEDs according to (e.g. an on or off) state of the heater.

[62] Where the device comprises a sensor (e.g. a puff/airflow sensor), the controller may be operatively connected to the sensor. The controller may be configured to receive a signal from the sensor (e.g. indicative of a condition of the device and/or engaged aerosol-forming article). The controller may be configured to control the heater, or an aspect of the output means, based on the signal from the sensor.

[63] The device may comprise a wireless interface configured to communicate wirelessly (e.g. via Bluetooth (e.g. a Bluetooth low-energy connection) or WiFi) with an external device. Similarly, the input connection may be configured for wired connection to an external device so as to provide communication between the device and the external device.

[64] The external device may be a mobile device. For example, the external device may be a smart phone, tablet, smart watch, or smart car. An application (e.g. app) may be installed on the external device (e.g. mobile device). The application may facilitate communication between the device and the external device via the wired or wireless connection.

[65] The wireless or wired interface may be configured to transfer signals between the external device and the controller of the device. In this respect, the controller may control an aspect of the device in response to a signal received from an external device. Alternatively or additionally, an external device may respond to a signal received from the device (e.g. from the controller of the device).

[66] In a second aspect, there is provided a system (e.g. a smoking substitute system) comprising a heat-not-burn device according to the first aspect and an aerosol-forming article. The aerosol-forming article may comprise an aerosol-forming substrate at an upstream end of the aerosol-forming article. The article may be in the form of a smoking substitute article, e.g. heated tobacco (HT) consumable (also known as a heat-not-burn (HNB) consumable).

[67] As used herein, the terms’’upstream” and“downstream” are intended to refer to the flow direction of the vapour/aerosol i.e. with the downstream end of the article/consumable being the mouth end or outlet where the aerosol exits the consumable for inhalation by the user. The upstream end of the

article/consumable is the opposing end to the downstream end.

[68] The aerosol-forming substrate is capable of being heated to release at least one volatile compound that can form an aerosol. The aerosol-forming substrate may be located at the upstream end of the article/consumable.

[69] In order to generate an aerosol, the aerosol-forming substrate comprises at least one volatile compound that is intended to be vaporised/aerosolised and that may provide the user with a recreational and/or medicinal effect when inhaled. Suitable chemical and/or physiologically active volatile compounds include the group consisting of: nicotine, cocaine, caffeine, opiates and opoids, cathine and cathinone, kavalactones, mysticin, beta-carboline alkaloids, salvinorin A together with any combinations, functional equivalents to, and/or synthetic alternatives of the foregoing.

[70] The aerosol-forming substrate may comprise plant material. The plant material may comprise least one plant material selected from the list including Amaranthus dubius, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

(Bearberry), Argemone mexicana, Arnica, Artemisia vulgaris, Yellow Tees, Galea zacatechichi, Canavalia maritima (Baybean), Cecropia mexicana (Guamura), Oestrum noctumum, Cynoglossum virginianum (wild comfrey), Cytisus scoparius, Damiana, Entada rheedii, Eschscholzia califomica ( California Poppy), Fittonia albivenis, Hippobroma longiflora, Humulus japonica (Japanese Hops), Humulus lupulus (Hops), Lactuca virosa (Lettuce Opium), Laggera alata, Leonotis leonurus, Leonurus cardiaca (Motherwort), Leonurus sibiricus (Honeyweed), Lobelia cardinalis, Lobelia inflata (Indian-tobacco), Lobelia siphilitica, Nepeta cataria (Catnip), Nicotiana species (Tobacco), Nymphaea alba (White Lily), Nymphaea caerulea (Blue Lily), Opium poppy, Passiflora incamata (Passionflower), Pedicularis densiflora (Indian Warrior), Pedicularis groenlandica (Elephant's Head), Salvia divinorum, Salvia dorrii (Tobacco Sage), Salvia species (Sage), Scutellaria galericulata, Scutellaria lateriflora, Scutellaria nana, Scutellaria species (Skullcap), Sida acuta (Wireweed), Sida rhombifolia, Silene capensis, Syzygium aromaticum (Clove), Tagetes lucida (Mexican Tarragon), Tarchonanthus camphoratus, Tumera diffusa (Damiana), Verbascum (Mullein), Zamia latifolia (Maconha Brava) together with any combinations, functional equivalents to, and/or synthetic alternatives of the foregoing.

[71] The plant material may be tobacco. Any type of tobacco may be used. This includes, but is not limited to, flue-cured tobacco, burley tobacco, Maryland Tobacco, dark-air cured tobacco, oriental tobacco, dark-fired tobacco, perique tobacco and rustica tobacco. This also includes blends of the above mentioned tobaccos.

[72] The tobacco may comprise one or more of leaf tobacco, stem tobacco, tobacco powder, tobacco dust, tobacco derivatives, expanded tobacco, homogenised tobacco, shredded tobacco, extruded tobacco, cut rag tobacco and/or reconstituted tobacco (e.g. slurry recon or paper recon).

[73] The aerosol-forming substrate may comprise a gathered sheet of homogenised (e.g. paper/slurry recon) tobacco or gathered shreds/strips formed from such a sheet.

[74] The aerosol-forming substrate may comprise one or more additives selected from humectants, flavourants, fillers, aqueous/non-aqueous solvents and binders.

[75] The flavourant may be provided in solid or liquid form. It may include menthol, liquorice, chocolate, fruit flavour (including e.g. citrus, cherry etc.), vanilla, spice (e.g. ginger, cinnamon) and tobacco flavour. The flavourant may be evenly dispersed throughout the aerosol-forming substrate or may be provided in isolated locations and/or varying concentrations throughout the aerosol-forming substrate.

[76] The aerosol-forming substrate may be formed in a substantially cylindrical shape such that the article/consumable resembles a conventional cigarette. It may have a diameter of between 5 and 10mm e.g. between 6 and 9mm or 6 and 8mm e.g. around 7 mm. It may have an axial length of between 10 and 15mm e.g. between 11 and 14mm such as around 12 or 13mm.

[77] The article/consumable may comprise at least one filter element. There may be a terminal filter element at the downstream/mouth end of the article/consumable.

[78] The or at least one of the filter element(s) (e.g. the terminal filter element) may be comprised of cellulose acetate or polypropylene tow. The at least one filter element (e.g. the terminal filter element) may be comprised of activated charcoal. The at least one filter element (e.g. the terminal element) may be comprised of paper. The or each filter element may be at least partly (e.g. entirely) circumscribed with a plug wrap e.g. a paper plug wrap.

[79] The terminal filter element (at the downstream end of the article/consumable) may be joined to the upstream elements forming the article/consumable by a circumscribing tipping layer e.g. a tipping paper layer. The tipping paper may have an axial length longer than the axial length of the terminal filter element such that the tipping paper completely circumscribes the terminal filter element plus the wrapping layer surrounding any adjacent upstream element.

[80] In some embodiments, the article/consumable may comprise an aerosol-cooling element which is adapted to cool the aerosol generated from the aerosol-forming substrate (by heat exchange) before being inhaled by the user.

[81] The article/consumable may comprise a spacer element that defines a space or cavity between the aerosol-forming substrate and the downstream end of the consumable. The spacer element may comprise a cardboard tube. The spacer element may be circumscribed by the (paper) wrapping layer.

[82] According to a third aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of using the system according to the second aspect, the method comprising inserting the aerosol-forming article into the device; and heating the article using the heater of the device.

[83] Optionally, the method may comprise inserting the article into a cavity within a body of the device and penetrating the article with the heating element of the device upon insertion of the article.

[84] According to a fourth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method for operating the heat-not-burn device according to the first aspect, comprising: i) receiving the user selection; ii) entering into the locked operating mode or the standby operating mode based on said user selection; and iii) activating the heater upon receiving the first predetermined user input when the device is entered in the locked operating mode, or the second predetermined user when the device is entered in the standby operating mode.

[85] Optionally the method further comprises: i) detecting the occurrence of the predetermined event; and ii) deactivating the heater to enter the device into either the locked operating mode or the standby operating mode.

[86] The invention includes the combination of the aspects and preferred features described except where such a combination is clearly impermissible or expressly avoided.

[87] 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

[88] 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:

[89] Figure 1 A is a schematic of a smoking substitute system;

[90] Figure 1 B is a schematic of a variation of the smoking substitute system of Figure 1 A;

[91] Figure 2A is a front view of a first embodiment of a smoking substitute system with the consumable engaged with the device;

[92] Figure 2B is a front view of the first embodiment of the smoking substitute system with the consumable disengaged from the device;

[93] Figure 2C is a section view of the consumable of the first embodiment of the smoking substitute system;

[94] Figure 2D is a detailed view of an end of the device of the first embodiment of the smoking substitute system;

[95] Figure 2E is a section view of the first embodiment of the smoking substitute system; and

[96] Figure 3 is a flowchart illustrating a method of operating the smoking substitute device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[97] Aspects and embodiments of the present invention will now be discussed with reference to the accompanying figures. Further aspects and embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art. All documents mentioned in this text are incorporated herein by reference.

[98] Figure 1A is a schematic providing a general overview of a smoking substitute system 100. The system 100 includes a substitute smoking device 101 and an aerosol-forming article in the form of a consumable 102, which comprises an aerosol former 103. The system is configured to vaporise the aerosol former by heating the aerosol former 103 (so as to form a vapour/aerosol for inhalation by a user).

[99] In the illustrated system, the heater 104 forms part of the consumable 102 and is configured to heat the aerosol former 103. In this variation, the heater 104 is electrically connectable to the power source

105, for example, when the consumable 102 is engaged with the device 101. Heat from the heater 104 vaporises the aerosol former 103 to produce a vapour. The vapour subsequently condenses to form an aerosol, which is ultimately inhaled by the user.

[100] The system 100 further comprises a power source 105 that forms part of the device 101. In other embodiments the power source 105 may be external to (but connectable to) the device 101. The power source 105 is electrically connectable to the heater 104 such that the power source 105 is able to supply power to the heater 104 (i.e. for the purpose of heating the aerosol former 103). Thus, control of the electrical connection of the power source 105 to the heater 104 provides control of the state of the heater 104. The power source 105 may be a power store, for example a battery or rechargeable battery (e.g. a lithium ion battery).

[101] The system 100 further comprises an I/O module comprising a connector 106 (e.g. in the form of a USB port, Micro USB port, USB-C port, etc.). The connector 106 is configured for connection to an external source of electrical power, e.g. a mains electrical supply outlet. The connector 106 may be used in substitution for the power source 105. That is the connector 106 may be electrically connectable to the heater 104 so as to supply electricity to the heater 104. In such embodiments, the device may not include a power source, and the power source of the system may instead comprise the connector 106 and an external source of electrical power (to which the connector 106 provides electrical connection).

[102] In some embodiments, the connector 106 may be used to charge and recharge the power source 105 where the power source 105 includes a rechargeable battery.

[103] The system 100 also comprises a user interface (Ul) 107. Although not shown, the Ul 107 may include input means to receive commands from a user. The input means of the Ul 107 allows the user to control at least one aspect of the operation of the system 100. The input means may, for example, be in the form of a button, touchscreen, switch, microphone, etc.

[104] The Ul 107 also comprises output means to convey information to the user. The output means may, for example, comprise lights (e.g. LEDs), a display screen, speaker, vibration generator, etc.

[105] The system 100 further comprises a controller 108 and a memory 109 operatively coupled to the controller 108 that is configured to control at least one function of the device 101 . In the illustrated embodiment, the controller 108 is a component of the device 101 , but in other embodiments may be separate from (but connectable to) the device 101 . Further, the controller 108 may be configured to, based on a user selection received at the user interface 107, selectively enter into a locked operating mode or a standby operating mode. Further, the controller may be configured to activate the heater 104 upon receiving, at the user interface 107: i) a first predetermined user input when the device 101 is entered in the locked operating mode or ii) a second predetermined user input different to the first predetermined user input when the device 101 is entered in the standby operating mode. Further, the controller 108 is configured to control the operation of the heater 104 and, for example, may be configured to control the voltage applied from the power source 105 to the heater 104. The controller 108 may be configured to toggle the supply of power to the heater 104 between an on state, in which the full output voltage of the power source 105 is applied to the heater 104, and an off state, in which the no voltage is applied to the heater 104. In one example, the controller 108 may be configured to deactivate the heater 104, when the device 101 is operating in both the locked operating mode and the standby operating mode.

[106] Although not shown, the system 100 may also comprise a voltage regulator to regulate the output voltage from the power source 105 to form a regulated voltage. The regulated voltage may then be applied to the heater 104. In some embodiment, the voltage regulator may allow a regulated voltage to be applied to the heater 104 to active the heater 104. Further, the voltage regulator may disconnect the supply of voltage to the heater 104 when the device 101 is operating in the locked operating mode and the standby operating mode.

[107] In addition to being connected to the heater 104, the controller 108 is operatively connected to the Ul 107. Thus, the controller 108 may receive an input signal from the input means of the Ul 107.

Similarly, the controller 108 may transmit output signals to the Ul 107. In response, the output means of the Ul 107 may convey information, based on the output signals, to a user. The controller also comprises a memory 109, which is a non-volatile memory. The memory 109 includes instructions, which, when implemented, cause the controller 108 to perform certain tasks or steps of a method. The memory also configured to store predetermined user selection, wherein the predetermined user selection stored in the memory 109 can be overwritten by more updated user selection received at the user interface 107.

[108] Further, the system 100 may comprise a detector or sensor 1 10 coupled with the controller 108 within the device 101 . The sensor 1 10 may be a microswitch, a puff sensor, a pressure sensor, a motion sensor or any other similar sensor mounted inside the device 101 . The sensor 1 10 may be configured to detect at least one of the predetermined conditions including (i) exhaustion of a consumable 102, e.g. full consumption of the consumable 102, (ii) removal of the consumable 102 from the device 101 , (iii) retraction of a cap of the device 101 , and (iv) elapse of a predetermined period of time since heater 104 activation or the last puff taken, and thereby deactivating the heater 104.

[109] Figure 1 B is a schematic showing a variation of the system 100 of Figure 1A. In the system 100’ of Figure 1 B, the heater 104 forms part of the device 101 , rather than the consumable 102. In this variation, the heater 104 is electrically connected to the power source 105.

[110] Figures 2A and 2B illustrate a heated-tobacco (HT) smoking substitute system 200. The system

200 is an example of the systems 100, 100’ described in relation to Figures 1A or 1 B. System 200 includes an HT device 201 and an HT consumable 202. The description of Figures 1A and 1 B above is applicable to the system 200 of Figures 2A and 2B, and will thus not be repeated.

[111] The device 201 and the consumable 202 are configured such that the consumable 202 can be engaged with the device 201. Figure 2A shows the device 201 and the consumable 202 in an engaged state, whilst Figure 2B shows the device 201 and the consumable 202 in a disengaged state.

[112] The device 201 comprises a body 209 and cap 210. In use the cap 210 is engaged at an end of the body 209. Although not apparent from the figures, the cap 210 is moveable relative to the body 209. In particular, the cap 210 is slideable and can slide along a longitudinal axis of the body 209.

[113] The device 201 comprises an output means (forming part of the Ul of the device 201) in the form of a plurality of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) 211 arranged linearly along the longitudinal axis of the device

201 and on an outer surface of the body 209 of the device 201. A button 212 is also arranged on an outer surface of the body 209 of the device 201 and is axially spaced (i.e. along the longitudinal axis) from the plurality of LEDs 211.

[114] Figure 2C show a detailed section view of the consumable of 202 of the system 200. The consumable 202 generally resembles a cigarette. In that respect, the consumable 202 has a generally cylindrical form with a diameter of 7 mm and an axial length of 70 mm. The consumable 202 comprises an aerosol forming substrate 213, a terminal filter element 214, an upstream filter element 215 and a spacer element 216. In other embodiments, the consumable may further comprise a cooling element. A cooling element may exchange heat with vapour that is formed by the aerosol-forming substrate 213 in order to cool the vapour so as to facilitate condensation of the vapour.

[115] The aerosol-forming substrate 213 is substantially cylindrical and is located at an upstream end 217 of the consumable 202, and comprises the aerosol former of the system 200. In that respect, the aerosol forming substrate 213 is configured to be heated by the device 201 to release a vapour. The released vapour is subsequently entrained in an airflow flowing through the aerosol-forming substrate 213. The airflow is produced by the action of the user drawing on a downstream 218 (i.e. terminal or mouth end) of the consumable 202.

[116] In the present embodiment, the aerosol forming substrate 213 comprises tobacco material that may, for example, include any suitable parts of the tobacco plant (e.g. leaves, stems, roots, bark, seeds and flowers). The tobacco may comprise one or more of leaf tobacco, stem tobacco, tobacco powder, tobacco dust, tobacco derivatives, expanded tobacco, homogenised tobacco, shredded tobacco, extruded tobacco, cut rag tobacco and/or reconstituted tobacco (e.g. slurry recon or paper recon). For example, the aerosol-forming substrate 213 may comprise a gathered sheet of homogenised (e.g.

paper/slurry recon) tobacco or gathered shreds/strips formed from such a sheet.

[117] In order to generate an aerosol, the aerosol forming substrate 213 comprises at least one volatile compound that is intended to be vaporised/aerosolised and that may provide the user with a recreational and/or medicinal effect when inhaled. The aerosol-forming substrate 213 may further comprise one or more additives. For example, such additives may be in the form of humectants (e.g. propylene glycol and/or vegetable glycerine), flavourants, fillers, aqueous/non-aqueous solvents and/or binders.

[118] The terminal filter element 214 is also substantially cylindrical, and is located downstream of the aerosol forming substrate 213 at the downstream end 218 of the consumable 202. The terminal filter element 214 is in the form of a hollow bore filter element having a bore 219 (e.g. for airflow) formed therethrough. The diameter of the bore 219 is 2 mm. The terminal filter element 214 is formed of a porous (e.g. monoacetate) filter material. As set forth above, the downstream end 218 of the consumable 202 (i.e. where the terminal filter 214 is located) forms a mouthpiece portion of the consumable 202 upon which the user draws. Airflow is drawn from the upstream end 217, thorough the components of the consumable 202, and out of the downstream end 218. The airflow is driven by the user drawing on the downstream end 218 (i.e. the mouthpiece portion) of the consumable 202.

[119] The upstream filter element 215 is located axially adjacent to the aerosol-forming substrate 213, between the aerosol-forming substrate 213 and the terminal filter element 214. Like the terminal filter 214, the upstream filter element 215 is in the form of a hollow bore filter element, such that it has a bore 220 extending axially therethrough. In this way, the upstream filter 215 may act as an airflow restrictor. The upstream filter element 215 is formed of a porous (e.g. monoacetate) filter material. The bore 220 of the upstream filter element 215 has a larger diameter (3 mm) than the terminal filter element 214.

[120] The spacer 216 is in the form of a cardboard tube, which defines a cavity or chamber between the upstream filter element 215 and the terminal filter element 214. The spacer 216 acts to allow both cooling and mixing of the vapour/aerosol from the aerosol-forming substrate 213. The spacer has an external diameter of 7 mm and an axial length of 14mm.

[121] Although not apparent from the figure, the aerosol-forming substrate 213, upstream filter 215 and spacer 216 are circumscribed by a paper wrapping layer. The terminal filter 214 is circumscribed by a tipping layer that also circumscribes a portion of the paper wrapping layer (so as to connect the terminal filter 214 to the remaining components of the consumable 202). The upstream filter 215 and terminal filter 214 are circumscribed by further wrapping layers in the form of plug wraps.

[122] Returning now to the device 201 , Figure 2D illustrates a detailed view of the end of the device 201 that is configured to engage with the consumable 202. The cap 210 of the device 201 includes an opening 221 to an internal cavity 222 (more apparent from Figure 2D) defined by the cap 210. The opening 221 and the cavity 222 are formed so as to receive at least a portion of the consumable 202. During engagement of the consumable 202 with the device 201 , a portion of the consumable 202 is received through the opening 221 and into the cavity 222. After engagement (see Figure 2B), the downstream end 218 of the consumable 202 protrudes from the opening 221 and thus also protrudes

from the device 201. The opening 221 includes laterally disposed notches 226. When a consumable 202 is received in the opening 221 , these notches 226 remain open and could, for example, be used for retaining a cover in order to cover the end of the device 201.

[123] Figure 2E shows a cross section through a central longitudinal plane through the device 201 . The device 201 is shown with the consumable 202 engaged therewith.

[124] The device 201 comprises a heater 204 comprising heating element 223. The heater 204 forms part of the body 209 of the device 201 and is rigidly mounted to the body 209. In the illustrated embodiment, the heater 204 is a rod heater with a heating element 223 having a circular transverse profile. In other embodiments the heater may be in the form of a blade heater (e.g. heating element with a rectangular transverse profile) or a tube heater (e.g. heating element with a tubular form).

[125] The heating element 223 of the heater 204 projects from an internal base of the cavity 222 along a longitudinal axis towards the opening 221. As is apparent from the figure, the length (i.e. along the longitudinal axis) of the heating element is less than a depth of the cavity 222. In this way, the heating element 223 does not protrude from or extend beyond the opening 221.

[126] When the consumable 202 is received in the cavity 222 (as is shown in Figure 2E), the heating element 223 penetrates the aerosol-forming substrate 213 of the consumable 202. In particular, the heating element 223 extends for nearly the entire axial length of the aerosol-forming substrate 213 when inserted therein. Thus, when the heater 204 is activated, heat is transferred radially from an outer circumferential surface the heating element 223 to the aerosol-forming substrate 213.

[127] The device 201 further comprises an electronics cavity 224. A power source, in the form of a rechargeable battery 205 (a lithium ion battery), is located in electronics cavity 224.

[128] The device 201 includes a connector (i.e. forming part of an IO module of the device 201) in the form of a USB port 206. The connector may alternatively be, for example, a micro-USB port or a USB-C port for examples. The USB port 206 may be used to recharge the rechargeable battery 205.

[129] The device 201 includes a controller (not shown) located in the electronics cavity 224. The controller comprises a microcontroller mounted on a printed circuit board (PCB). The USB port 206 is also connected to the controller 208 (i.e. connected to the PCB and microcontroller).

[130] The controller 208 is configured to control at least one function of the device 201 . For example, the controller 208 is configured to control the operation of the heater 204. Such control of the operation of the heater 204 may be accomplished by the controller toggling the electrical connection of the rechargeable battery 205 to the heater 204. For example, the controller 208 is configured to control the heater 204 in response to a user depressing the button 212. Depressing the button 212 may cause the controller to allow a voltage (from the rechargeable battery 205) to be applied to the heater 204 (so as to cause the heating element 223 to be heated).

[131] In one aspect, the controller 208 is configured to, based on a user selection received at the user interface, selectively enter into a locked operating mode or a standby operating mode. Further, to activate the heater upon receiving, at the user interface: i) a first predetermined user input when the device is entered in the locked operating mode or ii) a second predetermined user input different to the first predetermined user input when the device is entered in the standby operating mode.

[132] . In the illustrated embodiment, the controller 208 is configured to deactivate the heater 204 upon detecting an occurrence of a predetermined event, at a detector or sensor, to enter the device 201 into either the locked operating mode or the standby operating mode, based on a predetermined user selection stored at the memory of the device 201 .

[133] The predetermined event corresponds to the expiry of a user session or a smoking session. In the illustrated embodiment the predetermined event is any one of the i) exhaustion of the consumable 202, ii) removal of the consumable 202 from the device 201 , iii) retraction of a cap 210 of the device 201 , and iv) elapse of a predetermined period of time since heater 204 activation. Upon detecting an occurrence of the predetermined event, the controller 208 is configured to deactivate the heater 204 automatically.

[134] It is to be appreciated that some of the predetermined events may cause physical damage to the device 201 in one way or the other. For example, if the consumable 202 is removed when the heater 204 is still activated or energies, the heater 204 may overheat and thereby resulting in damage to the heater 204 or other components physically connected to the heater 204. Similarly, retraction of cap 210 of the device 201 , and activation of the heater 204 more than a predetermined (i.e. prolonged) period of time may cause the heater 204 to overheat.

[135] The predetermined user selection is a user selection received prior to activation of the heater 204 and thereby stored in the memory. Therefore upon detecting an occurrence of the predetermined event, the controller 208 is configured to retrieve the predetermined user selection form the memory and upon deactivating the heater 204, enter into one of the locked or standby operating mode based on said predetermined user selection.

[136] Such predetermined user selection as stored in the device 201 memory can be overwritten once the user inputs a new user selection at the user interface 212. For example, the user may select the standby operating mode as a default operating mode and as such the device 201 enters standby operating mode every time the heater 204 is deactivated. The user may occasionally select the locked operating mode and thereby overwrites the previous user selection, as desired.

[137] In the illustrated embodiment, the device 201 further comprise a detector or sensor 1 10 configured to detect an occurrence of one or more of the predetermined events when the heater 204 is activated. In one example, the sensor 1 10 may be pressure sensor (e.g. base on differential created inside the cavity 222 of the device 201) or microswitch that is configured to detect movement of consumable 202 and/or cap 210 in relation to the device 201 , e.g. removal of the consumable 202 from the device 201 and/or retraction of cap 210 of the device 201 . In another example, the sensor 1 10 is a timer provided in the controller 208 configured to determine the elapsed time since heater 204 activation or last puff taken, or a puff sensor configured to detect the number of puff already taken out of an allowable number of puff for consumable 202. The sensor 1 10 is configured to provide this information to the controller 208. The controller 208, based on said information, is configured to detect an occurrence of one or more of the predetermine events.

[138] In other embodiments, upon receiving the user selection at the user interface, the controller 208 may be configured to deactivate the heater 204 and enter the device 201 into either the locked operating mode or the standby operating mode. More specifically, the user selection may be received when the heater 204 is activated, e.g. during a user session. That is, the user selection received during a user session may deactivate the heater 204, e.g. the session may not terminate with the detection of an occurrence of a predetermined event, but may terminate based on receiving the user selection.

Furthermore, the user selection received during heater activation may overwrite the predetermined user selection as stored in the device memory.

[139] In the illustrate embodiment, the user selection comprises different selection inputs each for entering into a respective locking operation mode and a standby operation mode. The selection input for entering into the locking operating mode is achieved by holding a user press at the user interface 212 for at least two seconds, whereas the selection input for entering into the standby operating mode is achieved by a plurality of shorter user presses at the user interface each lasting less than a second. The selection input can be inputted at the user interface before or during heater activation in a session.

[140] In the illustrated embodiment, the first predetermined user input comprises a plurality of user presses at the user interface and the second predetermined user input comprises one or more user presses at the user interface; wherein the number of user presses in the second predetermined user input is less than the number of user presses in the first predetermined input. The user interface is a button 212. The user presses are physical presses onto the button 212 within a predetermined period, e.g. 3 seconds. In this example, the number of user presses in the first predetermined sequence is 5 presses.

[141] In other embodiments, the first predetermined user input may comprise at least one of a user password and a fingerprint input received at the interface 212. The first predetermined user input may be a password or a code to be input at a keyboard or a keypad. The first predetermined user input may be a fingerprint recognisable at a finger print recogniser. Said user input provides additional layer of protection to the device 201 , as minors or any unauthorised person other than owner of the device 201 may not be able to activate the heater 204, without having a knowledge of the predetermined user input, when the device 201 has entered into the locked operating mode.

[142] The locked operating mode may be defined as child safe mechanism CSM, where the device 201 remains active but the heater 204 of the device 201 is disabled to prevent a child from using the device. The controller 208 is also configured to control the LEDs 21 1 in response to (e.g. a detected) a condition of the device 201 or the consumable 202. For example, the controller may control the LEDs to indicate whether the device 201 is in an on state or an off state (e.g. one or more of the LEDs may be illuminated by the controller when the device is in an on state). In addition, the controller 208 may control the LEDs to indicate that the device 201 has entered into either one of the locked operating mode or the standby operating mode. In other embodiments, the device 201 may additionally include other output means such as haptic sensor, audio sensors, etc. to provide haptic/audio feedback indicating that the device 201 has entered into either one of the locked operating mode or the standby operating mode.

[143] The device 201 comprises a further input means (i.e. in addition to the button 212) in the form of a puff sensor 225. The puff sensor 225 is configured to detect a user drawing (i.e. inhaling) at the downstream end 218 of the consumable 202. The puff sensor 225 may, for example, be in the form of a pressure sensor, flowmeter or a microphone. The puff sensor 225 is operatively connected to the controller 208 in the electronics cavity 224, such that a signal from the puff sensor 225, indicative of a puff state (i.e. drawing or not drawing), forms an input to the controller 208 (and can thus be responded to by the controller 208).

[144] Figure 3 illustrates flowchart of method of switching the device between an active operating mode and the deactivated operating mode.

[145] As illustrated in figure 3, the method 300 includes one or more blocks implemented by the controller 208 of the device 201 . The method 300 may be described in general context of controller executable instructions. Generally, controller executable instructions may include routines, programs, objects, components, data structures, procedures, modules, and functions, which perform particular functions or implement particular abstract data types.

[146] The order in which the method 300 is described is not intended to be construed as a limitation, and any number of the described method blocks can be combined in any order to implement the method 300. Additionally, individual blocks may be deleted from the method 300 without departing from the scope of the subject matter described herein. Furthermore, the method 300 can be implemented in any suitable hardware, software, firmware, or combination thereof.

[147] The method 300 comprises steps for deactivating an activated heater 204, entering the device 201 in one of the two operating modes, and reactivating the heater 204 upon receiving different

predetermined user inputs according to the operating mode that the device is entered into.

[148] At block 301 , the controller 208 is configured to receive a user selection. The user selection is inputted at the user interface 212 and serve as an instruction for selecting between entering the device 201 into the locked operating mode and the standby operating mode once the heater 204 is deactivated. The user selection the user selection comprises different selection inputs each for entering the device 201 into a respective locked operation mode and a standby operation mode.

[149] In the illustrated embodiment, the user selection is a predetermined user selection entered by a user at the user interface 212 prior to heater 204 activation and being stored in the memory. Upon detecting an occurrence of a predetermined event, by a detector or a sensor, the controller 208 is configured to deactivate the heater 204 at block 302. As described, the predetermined events comprises one or more of (i) exhaustion or depletion of the consumable 202, (ii) removal of the consumable 202 from the device 201 , (iii) retraction of the cap 209 from the device 201 and (iv) elapse of a predetermined period of time since heater 204 activation or the last puff taken.

[150] In other embodiments, the controller 208 may receive the user selection when the heater 204 is activated, and upon receiving said user selection the heater 204 may be deactivated.

[151] Base on the user selection, the controller 208 is configured to enter the device 201 into either the locked operating mode 303 or the standby operating mode 304. The two operating modes differs to each other in that they each requires the user to input a particular predetermined user input at the user interface 212 in order to activate the heater 204.

[152] When the device 201 has entered into a locked operating mode 303, the controller 208 only activates 307 the heater 204 when a first predetermined user input is received 305 at the user interface 212. In said locked operating mode 303, when the controller 208 detects a second predetermined user input or any other user input other than the first predetermined user input at the user interface 212, the controller 208 is configured to keep the heater 204 in a deactivated state 309.

[153] On the other hand, when the device 201 has entered into a standby operating mode 304, the controller 208 only activates 307 the heater 204 when a second predetermined user input is received 306 at the user interface 212. In said standby operating mode 304, when the controller 208 detects a first predetermined user input or any other user input other than the second predetermined user input at the user interface 212, the controller 208 may configure to keep the heater 204 in a deactivated state 309. However in some embodiments where the second predetermined user input forms part of the first predetermined user input, e.g. the second predetermined user input comprises a single user press whilst the first predetermined user input comprises a plurality of user presses, the controller 208 may nevertheless activate the heater upon receiving a first predetermined user input.

[154] 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 spirit and scope of the invention.

[155] 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.

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

[157] 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.

[158] 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%.

[159] 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.