We wrote an article awhile back regarding the iQOS, a new device by Philip Morris, the tobacco giant who manufactures the famous Marlboro brand. Philip Morris has been getting into the e-cigarette business in addition to continuing their traditional cigarette manufacturing. Talk about introducing a disease then offering the cure.
The future of cigarette smoking has already been altered by the popular use of vaping. Vaping nicotine as well as other therapeutic juices, oils, and loose herbs has made consuming these substances much safer than traditional cigarettes, which contains hundreds of cancer-causing chemicals that have been proven to kill smokers in droves every year.
Now a few companies, such as Philip Morris, are not only selling 800+ billion cigs a year, but are trying their hand at introducing their own electronic cigarette devices in conjunction. Using a different system called “heat-not-burn” (HNB) technology, these companies are hoping to not just corner the market for those who are trying to kick the traditional cig habit, but even steal customers away from vaping.
iQOS by Philip Morris (Marlboro)
Philip Morris makes more than 850 billion traditional combustible cigarettes per year. Their entry into the alternative e-cig and vaping industry is about money, of course, rather than helping people stop smoking. The big tobacco industry does too much lobbying on the Hill and pays too much in special interest money to the government to look for anything more than making money off the backs of smokers.
In addition, since Philip Morris is relying on the FDA (who receives a ton of money from the government and big tobacco by proxy), they will be glad to be approved by a government agency with a “reduced risk” label.
How iQOS Works
The way iQOS works is the device itself is a two-part device. One part is a tobacco-filled mini cigarette and the other is a heating unit. The cigarettes have finally been given a name (Marlboro HeatSticks), marketed by Altria, and it’s basically a cigarette that will be inserted into the iQOS device and will be heated to 350 degrees C (662 degrees Fahrenheit). This is nearly 1/3rd of the heat that a traditional cigarette is, smoked at (which is around 1,500 Fahrenheit. The device is then removed and you smoke it like a traditional cigarette and discard the HeatStick when you are done.
Personally, the iQOS is clearly a complete money-grabbing scheme that is not different enough from traditional cigarettes to justify its existence. Placing mini cigarettes into an e-cig-like casing and heating it does not make it any less of a cigarette.
iFuse glo by BAT (British American Tobacco)
The next device coming out with HNB technology is the new iFuse glo. This tobacco-filled cigarette in an e-cig suit will market as “NeoStiks” under the Kent brand. This HNB will also use a PVS (a personal vaping system-like device) that is inserted into the iFuse heating element.
This HNB is somewhat different than the iQOS, however, which uses a small cigarette (HeatStick) rather than iFuse’s new liquid-type cartridges.
What a lot of people don’t know is that the British American Tobacco is the parent company of Imperial Tobacco, the Canadian tobacco giant that came out with the “Voke,” so all of this technology hitting bit tobacco to try and grab customers away from vaping and back towards the cigarette industry, is basically an attempt to boost business after smokers began turning to vaping for their health.
HNB Devices vs. Vaping
E-cigarettes and vaping devices both turn nicotine e-juice into vapor the same way: with heat that runs through stainless steel or ceramic coils.
With the new HNB technology, companies like Philip Morris claim that they can solve the problems of chemical aftertaste and billowing clouds that vaping and traditional e-cigs produce. Although, if you have the right juice or tobacco herb and use the right voltage and air inflow, you can solve both of these problems easily through vaping. But I digress.
The heat-not-burn tech will use real tobacco to deliver the flavor and the nicotine hit that users crave as well as giving users a more cigarette-like experience than e-cigs and vape devices now offer. They also claim that they will be able to emit a vapor that is more confined to the user’s personal space.
For those who doubt this technology (which I admit, I do – it is essentially throwing spaghetti at the wall to see if it sticks as far as sales go), HNB technology being used in today’s devices are terrible and counterproductive to the claims that this tech can help people stop smoking better than vaping can.
HNB technology used by these companies looking to offer a different way of consuming tobacco will end up costing more and can have the opposite effect on people. They even said it themselves — they wish to give users a more cigarette-like experience while using similar methods as traditional combustible cigarettes that normal cigarettes do – how exactly is that going to help anyone but the tobacco industry?
Let’s put it this way — since iQOS by Philip Morris will use nub-like cigarettes in their iQOS devices that will be heated rather than burned in order for the user to consume the tobacco — this is essentially putting a regular cigarette inside of a cool piece of technology and smoking the contents.
They are trying to word it in a way that pulls the wool over consumers eyes by putting an Iron Man suit over a cigarette (which tobacco companies already have the capability of creating cheaply and selling expensively) and calling it a ‘next generation e-cigarette experience.’
What really grinds my gears is that Philip Morris is looking to get a “reduced risk” label in the U.S. for their iQOS device — which, with the help of the cigarette-loving FDA — will give Philip Morris (one of the major tobacco companies) a huge competitive edge over the competition also putting out HNB devices. Since many of the world’s big tobacco companies are also pursuing HNB alternatives to fill the market for those who have quit smoking, they are using this technology to pull those users in again and cash out on them.
Other Companies Using HNB Tech
Asia is the prime target area for heat-not-burn technology. More than anywhere else in the world, places like China, Japan, and other Eastern countries are among the most successful places for HNB devices.
Japan Tobacco’s Ploom Tech HNB device is incredibly popular in Japan, and in fact, it was so popular they could not keep up with demand.
Pax Labs and Reynolds American are also intertwined with the Japan Tobacco and British American Tobacco companies, so it is no surprise that they, too, are marketing the same technology to disperse around the globe. They market in and around Japan, where the technology is most popular.
It looks as if Philip Morris and BAT are now trying to make heat-not-burn technology popular in North America as well, but whether it is going to be a success has yet to be seen. While vaping regulations are changing the way people can vape, it is unlikely that HNB technology will have much of an impact on e-cigs or vape devices. Vaping is still much preferred in the U.S. is not likely to be easy for vapers to toss their mods or e-cigs away for devices like the iQOS or iFuse glo.
So, will the heat-not-burn (HNB) style e-cigarettes become more popular than vaping? We don’t think so.
Just like the Voke by Imperial Tobacco, which was introduced and dwindled out quickly in the U.K. and Asia, the iQOS and other electronic cigarettes that use heating instead of burning, is not likely to become more popular than vaping. Vaping gives users versatility, customization, and an easy ability to refill and vape at a moment’s notice. The iQOS by Philip Morris and other HNB devices are a good idea in theory, but so far, none are very impressive. E-Cigs like this are costlier in the long run, especially if you have to continue purchasing what is essentially small cigarettes to put into the unit every time you “smoke.”
A rose by any other name is still a cigarette. Vaping will continue to be the safer and more preferred method of consuming nicotine and flavoring to quit smoking or simply as an alternative to cigarette smoking.