In the first week of July 2020, the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared it had now authorised marketing of IQOS products as *modified risk* tobacco products. Now, certainly in the US, this is a step forward for all IQOS products – and other ‘heat, not burn’ products. Why? Because it’s further, welcome acknowledgment they’re not as big a health risk to users as cigarettes.
Now, of course, many IQOS users would probably say they already knew this. After all, here in the UK, it’s almost been two years since the British Committee on Toxicity (COT) declared that, based on research findings, users of heat, not burn products are exposed to harmful substances by anything within a range of 10-40% less than cigarette users.
Sure, that’s a large percentage range; but it also points to a genuine improvement on the toxicity levels of cigarettes. In which case, the FDA’s recent announcement should probably really come as no great surprise.
Lower health risk
Now, in considering all the above, let’s not forget, heat, not burn products, such as IQOS, are not the same as vape devices. That said, it’s easy for the uninitiated to assume they are or are very similar, given both e-cigs and IQOS products share a similar, pocket-sized electronic-device-like appearance – as well as the fact that, of course, they can both be bought at or via an e cig shop London. And it’s true that, to an extent, both types of device are aimed at smokers wishing to move on from cigarettes.
The big difference, though, is that e-cigs/ vaping devices function by breathing in vaporised e-juice (which may contain nicotine or CBD), while heat, not burn devices, instead, heat tobacco, rather than burn it like cigarettes, ensuring users breathe in the tobacco-featuring, but smoke-free result.
Indeed, it’s because of this fundamental difference between them that heat, not burn devices and vaping devices shouldn’t be confused with one another – but also highlights why (as outlined above) COT chairman Professor Alan Boobis has declared: “it is probable that the health risks for smokers switching from cigarettes [to heat, not burn products] will be lower”.
Fewer differences, more similarities?
So much then for the health differences between IQOS UK products and cigarettes, but what about other areas where they should be compared – or contrasted…?
(The following details are in no way definitive and should be taken as a guide, being based on anecdotal evidence of IQOS users)
- Inhalation – an inhale from an IQOS device delivers a decent amount of impact, something of a catch on the throat; you’ll likely find the tobacco sensation’s far from overwhelming, without leaving behind a particular taste
- Tobacco cloud – visually, the resultant cloud from an IQOS inhale is similar to what you’d get from a cigalike e-cig; yet, compared to a cigarette, the cloud’s volume doesn’t come close and it’s gone extremely quickly
- Smell – no IQOS product generates tobacco smoke (that being the whole point, of course), so there isn’t that familiar tobacco smoke odour; instead, there’s a far lighter, toasted aroma, which combined with the reduced cloud effect, makes an IQOS ideal for stealthy use (like many e-cigs)
- Overall experience – for those who are looking to quit ciggies, the news is good because, for newcomers, it seems the overall experience of using an IQOS device and smoking a cigarette *is* similar; you may well find that drawing on an IQOS product shares the the psychophysical effects of tobacco smoking, but without quite as high a health risk.