WATCH | You've heard of smoking and vaping, but have you heard of heeting?
Cigarettes going poof?
In an interview with the BBC this week, CEO of Philip Morris André Calantzopoulos said his company, the owner of the Marlboro brand, will work with governments to "phase out" cigarettes.
Why would the tobacco giant do such a thing? Because Philip Morris believes it's sitting on a proper cigarette successor: iQOS. The new kind of heat-not-burn cigarette is thought to be safer than traditional smokes. After some positive reviews in smaller markets, the new cigarette tech will soon appear in America.
We produce a product that poses disease, and I think the primary responsibility we have once the technology is available, and today the technology is available, is to develop products like [iQOS] and commercialize them as soon as possible.
Calantzopoulos said for the sake of customers and public health at large, his company has a "responsibility" to deliver iQOS as soon as possible.
Using the iQOS -- it's been dubbed "heeting." (Image: Philip Morris)
What is heeting?
Short cigarette-like tobacco sticks (called HEETS and marketed as Marlboro HeatSticks in some test markets) are placed in the rechargeable iQOS heating device. When HEETS reach a high temperature, they emit an e-cig-like tobacco vapor that's believed to be safer than cigarette smoke, which has been linked to various diseases.
It's not "vaping," though. Marlboro is instead trying to market the iQOS smoking alternative as "HEETing," Bloomberg reported.
Better than vaping?
Marlboro HeatStick customers in Japan and Italy told Bloomberg that iQOS feels more like traditional smoking than e-cigarettes, and offers a stronger nicotine buzz, too.
How safe is iQOS?
Dr Joel Nitzkin, a senior policy fellow in tobacco at the R Street Institute, told Circa that the early data on iQOS looks promising.
"It does seem to be remarkably low in other toxic substance from tobacco," Nitzkin said. "It's similar in that respect and profile to e-cigarettes."
But Deborah Arnott, the director of Action on Smoking and Health, told the BBC that the iQOS tobacco product isn't "harm-free" and more independent research needs to be done.
When you look at risk in terms of the risk of potential fatal tobacco-attributable illness, the risk is... less than 1 percent for both e-cigarettes and probably for the iQOS product.
The iQOS and its charging case. (Image: Philip Morris)
When will the US get to heet?
Philip Morris USA told Circa that iQOS, being sold in test markets for about $79 for the heating device and about $6 for a pack of 20 HEETS, is seeking FDA approval and that clearance could come as soon next year.
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