New! Phillip Morris has released a new type of smokeless cigarette “IQOS”.
How does IQOS work?
IQOS is a tobacco heating system with three main components – Tobacco stick (called HEETS or HeatSticks), an IQOS holder, and a charger.
To use IQOS, a consumer inserts the tobacco Stick into the IQOS holder. The IQOS holder contains the electronically controlled heater that heats the tobacco stick.
The consumer pushes a button to turn on the heater, and then draws on the tobacco stick to enjoy the real taste of heated tobacco.
Once the tobacco Stick is finished, the consumer removes it from the holder, and the tobacco stick can be disposed of safely in a waste bin.
When needed, the consumer recharges the Holder by inserting it into the Charger.
Marlboro-maker Phillip Morris International finally launched a lot of talk about the smokeless cigarette “IQOS” which was described as a hybrid between analogues and electronic cigarettes.
The new device uses real refills for tobacco, but instead of burning it to produce dangerous smoke and tar, it heats it to get steam with the flavor of tobacco.
For many, electronic cigarettes proved to be a viable alternative to smoking, satisfying their craving for nicotine with the help of a familiar hard mouth.
However, there are also many smokers who believe that the taste of real tobacco is so difficult to replace that they continue to risk their lives while continuing to smoke.
These are the ones that Phillip Morris International hopes to sell with its new smokeless cigarette IQOS.
The tobacco giant launched its new device in Milan, Italy, after previously making it available on the other side of the globe, in Nagoya, Japan, plus Israel and Russia.
These tests market will give the company an idea of whether the IQOS can indeed compete with the already hugely popular electronic cigarette in the reduced-risk product market.
The IQOS smokeless cigarette looks a lot like a second generation vaporizer, but is very different from modern electronic cigarettes in terms of functionality.
Instead of nicotine-laced e-liquid, it uses actual tobacco in the shape of small Marlboro cigarettes that are heated at high temperatures, but not burned.
The miniature cigarettes, called “Heat Sticks”, are inserted into the IQOS heating device, leaving out the filter, which even has the Marlboro name written on it. Tobacco cigarettes burn at around 800 degrees Celsius, but the IQOS only heats the tobacco to 350 degrees, delivering a mouthful of tobacco-flavored vapor, but no smoke and tar.
The tobacco is soaked in propylene glycol which helps produce the vapor.
According to PMI, IQOS is the result of more than a decade of research and development and about $ 2 billion in investments. Needless to say, the company has a lot of riding on this, especially since its traditional sales of tobacco products in developed countries have been on decline for many years. Stable public health campaigns, increased taxes on tobacco products and marketing restrictions make growth in the cigarette sector highly unlikely.
But the success of IQOS depends on reducing the risk that the product allegedly offers.
This can be argued, because, there is ample evidence that electronic cigarettes are indeed safer than their counterparts, this cannot be said about the new products of Phillip Morris.
Apparently, medical tests are already being conducted in Switzerland, and the results are expected in the next year or so.
At the moment, IQOS is subject to the same level of taxation as conventional cigarettes, and its packaging contains a clear warning that it
"may be dangerous to your health."
Phillip Morris Smokeless Cigarette Not as Safe as E-Cigarettes, Big Tobacco Researcher Says
Last year, Phillip Morris International launched a new type of smokeless cigarette called iQOS. It’s supposed to be a cleaner and less smelly alternative to smoking, but one researcher at rival Imperial Tobacco doesn’t seem to agree with that description.
Speaking at a tobacco industry conference in Bologna, last week, Steve Stotesbury, head of scientific regulatory affairs at Imperial Tobacco, had some not-so-nice things to say about the Phillip Morris iQOS. “There’s a lot of black crud in the iQOS device after using it,” he told reporters during an interview. “It smells like an ashtray.”
The iQOS is basically a vaporizer that heats tobacco, instead of burning it, like conventional cigarettes. So-called “heat-sticks” are inserted into the iQOS and pierced by a metal blade that heats them at high temperatures to produce tobacco-flavored vapor. Phillip Morris is betting that its new product will eventually become more popular than electronic cigarettes because using it tastes and feels more like smoking.
This heat-not-burn process could theoretically eliminate a lot of the risk associated with smoking, only Stotesbury thinks e-cigarettes are still much safer. Apparently, he and his team at Imperial Tobacco tested the iQOS and found that some of the processes that occur during a burning cigarette are also occurring in Phillip Morris’ new device.
“While iQOS is capable of reducing harmful compounds associated with cigarette smoke by a factor of ten, an e-cigarette is capable of eliminating most of them completely,” the Imperial Tobacco researcher said.
Although, not as blunt as Steve Stotesbury, Phillip Morris spokespeople were quick to dismiss these statements. Moira Gilchrist, a scientific director at PMI said that trials on almost 350 smokers showed using the iQOS resulted in “a rapid and substantial reduction” in their exposure to harmful chemicals.
“While we are pleased that Imperial now recognizes the harm-reduction potential of heat-not-burn products such as iQOS, it is disappointing that they try to disparage a very promising technology for tobacco harm-reduction they do not have in their portfolio,” an official Phillip Morris statement read.
This kind of statements between tobacco companies is highly unusual, as they normally tend to always form a united front against anti-smoking activists and state authorities trying to impose restrictions on smoking. But this seems to have changed a bit as cigarette companies take different approaches to less-harmful alternative to smoking. Imperial Tobacco, for example, is betting big on e-cigarettes and has already launched its proprietary brand, called Puritane. It has also acquired Blu e-cigs from competitor RJ Reynolds, this summer, but perhaps its most interesting venture was the acquisition of the original e-cigarette patents from Hon Lik, the Chinese inventor known as the ‘father of electronic cigarettes’.
Phillip Morris International, on the other hand, is busy testing and marketing its innovative iQOS, although parent company Altria has also launched its brand of electronic cigarette, the MarkTen, and acquired the popular Green Smoke brand last year.