You may have heard of the Next Big Thing in the tobacco world: “heat not burn” technology. It’s not new and has been around for three decades, but early technology efforts were way ahead of their time.
The time may be here now, and leading the charge is Phillip Morris International with their hard to pronounce or remember product called iQOS.
The science behind heat not burn is still unproven, but the premise is that the heating of tobacco releases nicotine, which satisfies the user, but by avoid combustion the risk of carcinogens being released is lessened.
Makes sense. But more important, does it emulate the feel and taste of a conventional cigarette?
Launched in beta in Japan and Italy, iQOS has had a successful trial run. Since spring of 2016, the Japanese smoking population has taken to this innovation and captured over five percent of the smokers in just 18 months.
David Ettinger, an attorney with Keller Heckman law firm in Washington, DC, has been based in Shanghai for four years and covers the Chinese and Asian vape markets.
“The Japanese market has embraced this technology,” Ettinger said on Vape Radio this year, “and it appears to making inroads in China as well.”
Japan and China both have an unhealthy percentage of smokers, and the general view is that the transition from analog tobacco is easier with a heat not burn product versus a vaporizer.
The United States market is but larger and more unwieldy for now, but the tobacco giant has submitted a Premarket Tobacco Authorization (PMTA) to the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.
This expensive process is the first step toward launching a new, legal tobacco product.
Because of the deep pockets of Big Tobacco and the relationship they have with the FDA, most predict this authorization will be granted.
Do you have questions about mastering the vape industry? If so, send them on to norm@VapeMentors.com and we’ll address them in future columns.
Norm Bour is the founder of VapeMentors – a vape industry consulting company for vape shops, eCommerce sites and e-liquid brands. He’s also the host of Vape Radio, the largest vape business podcast in the world with more than 1.3 M downloads.
Contact him at norm@VapeMentors.com.