New Delhi, October 25: "Smoking is hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, and dangerous to the lungs," intellectual King James once said.
He wouldn't have said this if he was alive today to see this major transformation. We are talking about the brand-new discovery of a company which will now produce cancer-free cigarettes and will save smokers health and cigarette factories in one go.
Philip Morris International, the most popular tobacco and cigarette manufacturer is telling people to quit smoking. That sounds strange coming from a cigarette company but it's true since it has innovated cigarette to an extent where you could use it without smoking.
The innovation includes the effort of scientists, who are searching for the Big Tobacco’s magic bullet: cigarette substitutes that will sell but won’t kill.
Tobacco claims more than six million lives every year. That data aware many who move forward to spend money on quit-smoking classes instead of cigarettes. That is the reason tobacco giants are investing in labs to find a safer product to feed nicotine.
The idea behind the innovation
Nicotine is the necessity of all those who smoke or use tobacco in any form. Obviously, taste is not what the companies need to concentrate on. Therefore the prime concern was to develop a cigarette which will provide nicotine without harming the health.
Everybody knows that tobacco is a major source of nicotine but a fact not known to many is that it doesn't need to burn to provide the drug. The traditional cigarettes burn the tobacco to provide the nicotine and the burnt smoke affects our lungs decreasing our lifespan. The unburnt tobacco consumption was one solution to the problem.
The scientists found that gently heated tobacco can also provide the nicotine and that too without affecting the body. So the scientists started working to develop a technology that will heat the tobacco without burning it.
A crucial test of Phillip Morris is expected to come in 2017 will heat tobacco inside a cigarillo-size tube.
Philip Morris’ four-pronged strategy starts with something called iQOS, pronounced, EYE-kose. Some say that iQOS stands for “I quit ordinary smoking” which gently heats the tobacco without burning it, producing a warm, nicotine-laced aerosol.
How to use the post-cigarette push
As the white or blue coloured plastic iQOS case is flipped open , a heater comes out which looks like a stubby pen. Into one end users have to insert what amount to munchkin-size cigarettes, called HEETS.
After HEETS comes TEEPS, a heat-not-burn product that looks pretty much like an old-fashioned cigarette. The cigarette contains tobacco but unlike lighting up the old way, users have to ignite a carbon tip that heats the tobacco. The taste and nicotine intake of iQOS and TEEPS are closer to that of ordinary cigarettes than e-cigarettes.
The third device, STEEM, is a twist on a medical inhaler. It combines nicotine and a weak organic acid to produce nicotine salt, which is absorbed without vapour.
A fourth, called MESH, is a more conventional e-cigarette using flavoured nicotine liquid.
Phillip Morris has till now spent over 3 billion US Dollars on its post-cigarette push.
Though the technology is considered a major evolution of the era but there are fears that it will attract the health-concerned non-smokers as well. Also, these new products can ultimately drive people back to conventional cigarettes.
(inputs from Business Standard)