What alternatives are there to smoking cigarettes?
It’s no secret that smoking cigarettes is bad for your health. Around 490,000 adults still smoke in Aotearoa New Zealand, which is around 12.5 percent of the population. Smoking is the cause of roughly 5000 deaths every year. But, giving up smoking can be hard. Lots of smokers find it difficult to replace the sensation of smoking cigarettes, meaning they struggle to quit and continue the habit.
This is why, for many, switching to a smoke-free alternative is the best way to help them stop. But what are smoke-free products? And what do we mean by less harmful smoking alternatives? We answer this and more below.
What are smoke-free products?Smoke-free alternatives recreate an experience similar to smoking cigarettes without producing the actual smoke, which is the primary cause of smoking-related disease. This is because unlike cigarettes they don’t burn tobacco, which is what creates the smoke from cigarettes. In some cases, smoke-free products don’t use tobacco at all.
Most of the health risks linked to cigarettes, such as lung cancer and heart disease, are caused by cigarette smoke. Over 6000 harmful chemicals can be found in cigarette smoke, many of which can contribute to serious health issues.
Vaping is the leading smoke-free alternative to cigarettes available. Smokers switching to vaping can use an e-cigarette or a heated tobacco product, such as IQOS Platform 1 Heated Tobacco Technology. There are some key differences between the two though that might affect which option people choose. Let’s take a look at what they are.
What is heated tobacco?Heated tobacco products are cigarette alternatives that recreate an experience and sensation similar to smoking. These products heat the tobacco to a temperature that creates an inhalable vapour instead of smoke, meaning it creates on average 95% fewer harmful chemicals1. While this doesn’t make heated tobacco risk-free, it is a less harmful alternative than continuing to smoke.
Most heated tobacco products, such as the IQOS example we mentioned earlier, are similar in size and shape to a pen. Nicotine is extracted from something called a tobacco stick, which is inserted into the device and heated to create the vapour that people inhale.
This new technology is the result of a serious amount of investment and research. For example, Philip Morris International has invested nine billion New Zealand dollars into product innovation, and have a dedicated team of about 300 scientists who develop smoke-free alternatives. Due to this investment, over eight million adult smokers globally have made the switch to IQOS products, and have given up smoking cigarettes as a result2.
Benefits to heated tobaccoHeated tobacco is much less harmful to people’s health than smoking cigarettes, producing up to 95% less harmful chemicals than cigarette smoke. However, it’s important to know this doesn’t necessarily mean there’s 95% less risk.
Heated tobacco is convenient and clean. There’s no ash, no lingering smoke smell, and you’re less likely to stain clothes or furniture.
Studies show that the satisfaction of those who switched completely to IQOS is comparable to those who continued to smoke cigarettes3.
Switching to heated tobacco is a cheaper option than continuing to smoke cigarettes.
Heated tobacco doesn’t leave an unpleasant aftertaste4, nor does it leave an icky scent on the breath5, and it won’t stain your teeth6 and fingers as much. IQOS doesn’t reverse any existing stains on people’s teeth however, so this benefit will only be noticeable if no stains exist, or are removed, and a total switch is made to IQOS.
IQOS has no negative impact on indoor air quality. This is proven by air quality tests conducted in accordance with international standards7.
Negatives to heated tobaccoAlthough it is less harmful, heated tobacco still isn’t risk-free. It should only be used by smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke. Not smoking or using nicotine at all remains the best option for your health.
Heated tobacco doesn’t offer the variety of flavours available with e-cigarettes and vaping.
What is vaping?Vaping has quickly become one of the most popular cigarette alternatives out there. The original e-cigarette was invented in 2003 by the Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik. Various other people had tried creating a smokeless product throughout the 20th century, but it was Hon Lik’s invention that led vaping to become the go-to for millions of people worldwide wanting to become smoke-free.
The main difference between vaping and heated tobacco is that vaping doesn’t actually contain any tobacco. Vapers instead use an e-cigarette, which is a handheld electronic device, to heat a liquid called e-juice. They then inhale the vapour. E-juice often contains nicotine, though this isn’t always the case. Many vapers use e-cigarettes without any nicotine at all as they wean themselves off.
The two types of e-cigarettes available are called open-tank and closed-tank. Essentially, the main difference between the two is that open-tank e-cigarettes can be refilled with e-juice manually, giving you more control over what flavours you use, how much nicotine you have and so on. Closed-tank systems are replaced with pods already filled with e-juice, a simpler though arguably more restrictive option. Whichever you choose depends on the experience you’re looking for, with a number of pros and cons to each.
To help you work out whether vaping is the right option for you, we’ve broken down a few of the benefits and negatives below.
Benefits to vapingE-cigarettes produce a vapour instead of toxic cigarette smoke, making it a less harmful smoking alternative. Users have the choice of either an open-tank or closed-tank e-cigarette, as well as the range of different e-juice flavours, giving them a variety of options. Because it creates a vapour instead of smoke, vaping doesn’t produce the same smell or taste as cigarettes.
Negatives to vapingSimilar to heated tobacco, vaping isn’t risk-free, and not smoking at all remains the best option. The health effects of the ingredients found in different flavours is something that’s largely unknown, and is being monitored on an ongoing basis. Vaping doesn’t produce the same sensation as smoking cigarettes. Heated tobacco might be a better option for those looking for a tobacco-based experience.
Which smoking alternative option should I choose?While both heated tobacco products, such as IQOS, and vaping are less harmful than smoking cigarettes, the experience you get from using each are quite different. Whether it’s the sensation of heated tobacco you’re after, or the range of flavours available with vaping that appeals to you, your choice will likely come down to your personal preference.
It’s important to remember that if you don’t already smoke cigarettes, you shouldn’t start vaping or using heated tobacco products. However, if you are looking for alternatives to smoking cigarettes and want to become smoke-free, it’s good to know there are options out there.
If you would like to learn more about how heated tobacco or vaping can help you become smoke-free, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Whether it’s giving you additional information or walking you through our trial process, we’re here to help you make the switch.
To learn more about vaping and heated tobacco, check out the links below:IQOS Heated Tobacco and Vaping Explained
Is vaping different to smoking cigarettes?
What does heated tobacco mean?
1Important information: It does not necessarily equal a 95% reduction in risk. IQOS is not risk-free. Average reductions in levels of a broad range of harmful chemicals (excluding nicotine) compared to the smoke of a reference cigarette (3R4F).
2Source: Status as of June 2019.Exclusive Heat-Not-Burn users that are using Heat Sticks for more than 70% of t heir past-7 day’s consumption. PMI Financials or estimates, IQOS user panels and PMI Market.
33 month clinical studies conducted in US and Japan with 160 adult smokers each under real conditions (ambulatory).
4Source: Online survey conducted by third-party research agencies in 2015, 2016 and 2017among3.344IQOS users in Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Romania and Russia.
5Source: Online survey conducted by third-party research agencies in 2016 and 2017 among 3.157 IQOS users in Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Romania and Spain.
6Source: non-clinical laboratory study conducted in Switzerland, where human teeth and the most widely used dental composite exposed to IQOS aerosol for3 weeks showed significantly less staining compared to teeth exposed to the smoke of a standard reference cigarette (3R4F). Contrary to real world conditions, teeth were not exposed to others staining substances such as coffee, tea or wine, which may influence the results.
7Source: PMI study conducted under ISO standards simulating real-world scenarios and based on threshold limits established by existing air quality guidelines