HOUSTON — With over 1 billion cigarette smokers worldwide, it's getting a little hard to breathe.
Tobacco giant, Philip Morris has unleashed some cigarette tech in England with promises this could eventually push the company to stop selling traditional cigarettes.
First, came Brexit. Now comes, Cigare-xit.
The IQOS is a hybrid electronic cigarette that heats tobacco up to 350 degrees instead of burning it to create a smoke like vapor, and it looks a lot like a cheesy sci-fi movie prop.
“I think it’s horrible. Nothing beats the real thing. There’s too many contraptions," cigar aficionado Justin Jordan said. "You have to charge the cigarette up, add glycerin, and it almost becomes worse than lighting up a real cigarette.There’s too much to go through to vaporize something and make this a smoke free world. It’s not going to happen.”
The $80 billion tobacco company has invested $3 billion in research and development over the past 10 decades on smokeless smoking devices, which eventually landed the company the IQOS.
Philip Morris claims the device produces less than ten percent of toxins that standard squares produce and greatly reduces the effects of second hand smoke.
But we can't be sure until there's third party studies. The major tobacco companies such as PM and Rj Reynolds clearly have a bias in their own research and presentation of information.
But regardless, we all know over indulging in tobacco, or anything for that matter isn't healthy, but the idea of a healthy alternative is one of the main reasons people have switched to vaporizing rather than smoking.
But in a world with over 10 million cigs sold every minute and the ever increasing risks of illness that’s known to be associated with tobacco, why wouldn’t smokers want to switch.
Ross Tieken, the tobacco and pipe specialist at the Briar Shoppe, believes smokers shouldn’t change what they smoke with, but how they smoke.
“From our perspective, people who are smoking 12 packs of cigarettes a day— these people are crazy. Just like alcoholics or someone who drinks 10 pots of coffee. They’re seen as frenetic or desperate. They’re ruining this beautiful product for themselves,” Ross said as he sat behind the counter of the oldest Tobacco shop in Houston.
No strange looking device is going to help that, he said.
"This thing is continuing the myth that tobacco is simply a nicotine delivery device instead of an art form and its technologizing it in a way that I find really reprehensible," Ross added. “Tobacco is an old world luxury that build the new world economy along with chocolate and coffee. Those three luxuries. It doesn’t make any sense that we are wanting to destroy our own market.
Ross said the device is a serious issue for aesthetics and the market.
"Tobacco is beautiful,” he said.
So whether you love this digital-analog smoking concept or want to puff-puff pass on the idea, the idea that some cigarette companies are trying to be healthier is a breath of fresh air.