Philip Morris, Japan Tobacco, and British American Tobacco have released a new type of tobacco product to test markets in other countries. These heat-not-burn products might take the American market by storm. In Japan, internet searches for these new products in the first year increased by 1,426%. From 2015 to 2017, searches jumped by 2,956%.
Companies may claim that heat-not-burn products are completely different from traditional or electronic cigarettes but they’ve got quite a few similarities. Like e-devices, a battery is used to heat the product up and both release aerosols in to the air. With e-devices, e-juices (a blend of a chemical base, flavorings, and oftentimes nicotine) are heated up and a plug of tobacco is heated with heat-not-burn devices. Theoretically, heating and not burning this tobacco plug makes the product safer, but research has found that these new products release many of the same harmful toxins that traditional cigarettes do. Independent research on Philip Morris’ IQOS product found that toxin levels released by IQOS devices was much higher than the company initially claimed. The product may be just as addictive as traditional cigarettes as they contain about 84% as much nicotine as traditional cigarettes. IQOS still releases large amounts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a group of chemicals that are produced when things like wood, coal, tobacco, or meat is burned- many of which are known carcinogens. Acenaphthene, one of the chemicals in this group, has a concentration 295% higher in IQOs than traditional cigarettes.
These products are not currently available in the US, but the FDA is reviewing Philip Morris International’s application to begin selling IQOS stateside. E-cigarettes took the US by storm without knowing much about their effect on health and we cannot allow the wool to be pulled over our eyes again.