Ever wonder what Japanese are smoking without lighter when you lit up your cigarette at designated smoking areas in Universal Studio Osaka or at the corner of the Shibuya underground station entrance?
According to report, more than 15% smokers in Japan are using the new Heat-Not-Burn e-cigarette from Philip Morris International (PMI), or IQOS (I Quit Original Smoking), after its introduction into the market 3 years ago. And this adaptation have seen increasing exponentially.
Further to feedback from its users, in November 2018, PMI introduced 2 new versions of the smoke free e-cigarette device, namely IQOS 3.0 and IQOS 3.0 Multi. I’ve been using IQOS 3.0 Multi for a couple of months now and here is my review of it in the context of its suitability on travel for vacationers.
Benefits of IQOS
IQOS is a tobacco heating system comprising 3 main components – a heated tobacco unit (called HEETS or HeatSticks), an IQOS holder, and a charger. User needs to insert the heated tobacco unit into the IQOS holder, which contains an electronically controlled heater. After pushing a button to turn on the heater, the tobacco stick will be heated up to release vapors and users can start smoking to enjoy the real taste of heated tobacco. After about 6 minutes or 14 buffs, the holder will power off itself. 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. For IQOS 3.0, users need to recharges the holder by inserting it into the charger after each session.
Here is the abstract of PMI’s explanations on the benefits of IQOS:
At the heart of IQOS are sophisticated electronics that heat specially designed heated tobacco units. IQOS heats the tobacco just enough to release a flavorful nicotine-containing tobacco vapor but without burning the tobacco.
Here’s the key point: the tobacco in a cigarette burns at temperatures in excess of 600°C, generating smoke that contains high levels of harmful chemicals. But IQOS heats tobacco to much lower temperatures, up to 350°C, without combustion, fire, ash, or smoke. The lower temperature heating releases the true taste of heated tobacco. Because the tobacco is heated and not burned, the levels of harmful chemicals are significantly reduced compared to cigarette smoke.
What is there? A nicotine-containing vapor – not smoke – that makes IQOS a smoke-free product that is appealing to smokers.
IQOS 3.0 Multi
IQOS 3.0 Multi is an integrated product that combines the holder and charger and allows multiple uses without recharging the battery. The advantage of it is users can continuously heat up 10 heatsticks without any stopping for charging in between. The downside? It needs to be charged after 10 heatsticks (if compared with 20-30 heatsticks for IQOS 3.0). Otherwise, IQOS 3.0 Multi operates exactly the same as IQOS 3.0.
Other features of 3.0 Multi include its smaller size for easier fit into your pocket. It also has an USB-C socket for charging which is undoubtedly today’s trend.
What’s its point for travelers?
- It helps smokers to smoke lesser and theoretical healthier. HEETS has lesser nicotine contents and other harmful ingredients found in ordinary cigarettes.
- It preserve the environment better without introducing ash and smoke into air.
- It has much less smell if compared to ordinary cigarette. Because it doesn’t burn, minimum tar and burning smell will be released.
- Also because of that, less risks of it in causing fire hazards by accidentally dropping off your cigarette butts.
- You will feel more “localized” since many Japanese and Koreans smoke IQOS nowadays.
- Though there is an initial cost to buy the heating device, HEETS or the tobacco sticks are cheaper than the original cigarettes.
What’s its point not for travelers?
- The major hindrance of IQOS currently is that you can’t use it everywhere in the world. There are countries where IQOS are banned at the time of writing this article, such as Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
- You need to bring an additional power adapter to charge the device.
- There’s an additional risk of dropping the device and render it unusable on travel.
- You won’t be able to smoke original cigarette again because they smell so different that you will no be able to accept the strong burning smell of normal cigarettes after switching to IQOS.
Conclusion? IQOS is a great cigarette alternative for smokers hoping for a healthier lifestyle or planning a cessation. Nevertheless, traveling with IQOS could be an issue for some destinations. You need to check out the latest information of e-cigarette bans on countries of your next visit. Even though you may bring IQOS into those countries, buying heatsticks or HEETS there could be difficult since it is still not as popular. What do you think? Please comment if you have any other opinions. Peace! – Travel Feeder
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