According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or 1 of every 5 deaths.”
The CDC also reports that in 2015, “current smokers declined from nearly 21 of every 100 adults (20.9%) in 2005 to about 15 of every 100 adults (15.1%).”
Cigarette usage is at record lows and dropping due to multiple initiatives such as the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (DARE) which focus their efforts on discouraging young people from picking up their first cigarette, anti-smoking laws and, increased cigarette taxes.
Despite these two facts, Phillip Morris International (PMI), the makers of Marlboro, refuse to go down without a fight. They have created a device that they say is less toxic than a cigarette and they are requesting permission to bring it to the U.S. market.
The device is called IQOS and PMI categorize it as a tobacco heating system.
Tobacco smoke is made up of thousands of chemicals e.g. nicotine, hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde. At least 70 of those chemicals are known to cause cancer. The chemicals get released when the tobacco is burned so PMI’s claim to IQOS being less toxic than a cigarette is built on the fact that their device will not burn tobacco but simply heat it up to produce what they are referring to as ‘a nicotine-containing vapor.’
How Does The IQOS Device Work?
The IQOS device is made up of three main components. A heated tobacco unit called HEETS or HeatSticks, an IQOS holder, and a charger.
According to PMI, to use IQOS, “a consumer inserts the heated tobacco unit into the IQOS holder, which contains an electronically controlled heater.
The consumer pushes a button to turn on the heater, and then draws on the heated tobacco unit to enjoy the real taste of heated tobacco. Once the heated tobacco unit is finished, the consumer removes it from the holder, and then it can be disposed of safely in a waste bin. When needed, the consumer recharges the holder by inserting it into the charger.”
The consumer pushes a button to turn on the heater, and then draws on the heated tobacco unit to enjoy the real taste of heated tobacco. Once the heated tobacco unit is finished, the consumer removes it from the holder, and then it can be disposed of safely in a waste bin. When needed, the consumer recharges the holder by inserting it into the charger.
If approved, this will not be IQOS’s first market. PMI report that the device has already been launched in Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Italy, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Lithuania, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. They also state that the device is being used by over 3.7 million consumers.
U.S. health advisers are set to vote on whether to allow the device into the market some time this week.