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Leading Cigarette Company Releases Questionable Device for Heating Tobacco

Posted 2nd Dec 2016 to Vaping News


In a seeming bid to capitalise on the vaping revolution, a leading American tobacco company has released a device which heats tobacco in a stick rather than burning it, and claiming without publication of its own internal studies or any independent reports that it is 90% less harmful than cigarette smoking. It’s a mind-boggling product design in that there seems to be no place for it in the market when it is compared to vaping. Obviously, there are many reasons to be skeptical of such a device being released by a tobacco company, but let’s break them down.

1. It does not offer an improvement over vaping

The product doesn't offer any experiential improvements over vaping, and thus far only offers tobacco flavours. We've heard from some our customers that if they didn't have non-tobacco flavours in their eliquid, they wouldn't have quit smoking. More baffling is the complete disregard of the vaping category entirely, with the CEO saying this about the product:

“For the first time in history, we have products with the real potential to both accelerate harm reduction and grow our business.”

Obviously, it is not the first time in history. Ecigarettes, which were not invented by tobacco companies, hold that place. Perhaps Big Tobacco is relying on their lobby to pave the way for this product by steamrolling over ecigarettes with regulatory controls, thus eliminating the competition which offers a superior product.

2. Safety is questionable

Without access to even the company-led studies and no independent third-party evaluations, there is no way to corroborate its claims about being 90% safer than smoking. While independent studies have shown that tobacco emits less toxins being heated at lower temperatures, they are still present in larger than trace amounts.

In addition, the device is not subject to the rigorous safety standards put on eliquids by the Tobacco Products Directive, which requires toxicity tests on all eliquids to ensure that unsafe chemicals are not being emitted in eliquid vapour, even in parts per million.

Any claim by a tobacco company that a product is "safe" has to be looked at with skepticism, given their track record of trying to claim that smoking was safe for years, even after thousands of studies had been published about the dangers of smoking.

3. Studies? What Studies?

For better or for worse, there have been a number of studies and reports about vaping, two of which have had the outcome of seeing ecigarettes recommended by Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians. The only study that seems to exist the new product is one done by its competition, which is negative but unreliable considering the source. As mentioned, the company claims to have internal studies which have not been released - which you would think they would have to bolster marketing if they were positive.

The question remains - why was this product designed, at obvious great expense on the part of the tobacco company? It smacks of “healthwashing”, such as when fast food chains push their salads and healthier offerings while still pushing the burgers and fries that fuel the obesity epidemic. Vapers are ex-smokers, and many are still dealing with the ill effects from consuming a tobacco company’s products for many years. We have no reason to put our health in their hands once again, especially with a product that offers no improvements over the experience of vaping, with the exception of being patentable and a profit centre for a company which made products that made us addicted and sick in the first place.


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