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Heat not Burn news roundup – December 2018

heat not burn news December 2018

As you’ve probably noticed from the number of reviews we’ve had lately, things are pretty busy in the world of Heat not Burn. Most of the action is in the shape of new products, and we’ve been getting our hands on as many of these as possible so we can let you know what you’re like. That’s not all that’s going on, though. As HnB’s popularity grows, governments and the public health industry are really starting to sit up and take notice. My worry is that this is going to be e-cigarettes all over again; that a great new technology is going to be attacked by people who make a living out of complaining about cigarettes. Sure enough, there are signs of that happening in a few places around the world – but there are some more positive things happening too. Let’s have a look at the latest news from the wild and wacky world of heated tobacco products.

Altria scrap e-cigs, pin hopes on HnB

A big news item last week was that Altria, the company that sells Marlboro cigarettes in the USA, is ending production of its MarkTen and Green Smoke e-cig ranges. Altria say that this is because the products have a relatively poor financial outlook, and new FDA regulations mean it’s too slow and expensive to approve them. To replace the retired products the company is following a two-pronged strategy. One track is to buy a stake in pod mod maker JUUL Labs; the other is to become the US distributer for sister company Philip Morris’s iQOS if the FDA approve it for sale in the United States.

While we’re talking about iQOS, the latest version of the popular device has just been launched in South Africa. Available in Japan, Switzerland and Russia since mid-November, the updated system seems to be getting a rapid global roll-out. Unlike the 2.4 Plus, which gave the original iQOS design a facelift and some technical upgrades, the iQOS 3 is a completely new product. The basic concept is the same – a holder and a portable charging case – but both components are significantly different from the 2.4. The new PCC has a side-opening design rather than a flip top, and apparently some upgrades in battery capacity and charging speed.

On top of the iQOS 3, PMI have also released the new iQOS 3 Multi. While iQOS is the leading HnB product, it’s facing increasing competition from other devices, and they all use a different design concept. iQOS is the only popular system that uses a PCC and a holder that only has enough battery capacity to vape a single stick; all its rivals have larger batteries that store enough power to get through anywhere from eight to 30 HEETs. The iQOS Multi is aimed at users who prefer this; smaller than the complete iQOS 3, but a lot larger than the holder, its internal battery will last for around ten HEETs before it needs a top-up.

South African health nuts complain about iQOS 3

South Africa’s public health industry hasn’t wasted any time in criticising the iQOS 3 launch. Savera Kalideen, director of the National Council Against Smoking, was one of the first to start yelling. On the basis of no evidence at all, Kalideen claimed “Safer is not the same as safe. These products can still cause lung disease.” He demanded stricter regulations, although the government’s new Control of Tobacco Products and Electronic Delivery Systems Bill has already been criticised for making it harder to access reduced-harm products.

iQOS is also facing opposition in South Korea. In June the ministry of food and drug safety claimed that iQOS released higher levels of tar than a traditional cigarette. As tar is a combustion product, and HnB doesn’t involve combustion, this is pretty much impossible unless something has gone badly wrong. Needless to say PMI weren’t too happy, and asked the ministry to release the details of any testing that had been carried out. The ministry refused, and PMI are now suing. The ministry is complaining, but still refuses to back up its claims with evidence.

It’s not all bad news from South Korea though. Heat not burn is the most popular reduced harm option there, with iQOS, BAT’s Glo and the locally made KT&G Lil range all enjoying strong sales. South Korea is an interesting market. Some vapers who’re opposed to HnB claim that iQOS has only sold so well in Japan because e-cigs are almost impossible to buy there. However they’re widely available in South Korea – but HnB is still leading the reduced risk market.

PMI aim to protect farmers

It’s important to remember that tobacco harm reduction doesn’t just affect smokers – it can have impacts a long way from there. For example a HEET contains a fraction of the tobacco a cigarette does. As more smokers switch, demand for tobacco is going to fall sharply. That’s potentially very bad news for tobacco farmers. Although the public health industry tends to smear everyone involved in making cigarettes, HEETs or e-liquid as “big tobacco”, the truth is that almost all tobacco is grown by independent farmers. Anti-tobacco activists don’t care what happens to these farmers, but PMI South Africa chief Marcelo Nico says the company is working with suppliers to help farmers find alternative crops. That way, PMI’s goal of moving all smokers over to safer products won’t cause economic damage to farmers.

So overall, it looks like we’re getting the predictable reaction from public health nuts about HnB – they hate it. Of course they do, because they make a living from harassing smokers, and HnB has already converted a lot of smokers. From the public health point of view there are only two ways to react to it; suppress the technology so smokers keep smoking, and can keep being victimised, or claim it’s just as bas as smoking so they can continue persecuting users. Unfortunately, politicians listen to these clowns – even when the science is showing clearly that they’re wrong. If Heat not Burn fans want to avoid the sort of regulations and bans that are being applied to e-cigs, they need to start writing to their politicians now.

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The Jouz – Heat not Burn UK Exclusive Review

Jouz

Right now I feel the same way about Heat not Burn as I did about vaping when I first discovered the whole world of devices that existed beyond the cigarette-style things I started with. From one really practical device – the iQOS – a couple of years ago, the market has expanded rapidly; we seem to be hearing about new products every week now, and quite a few of them are making it into our hands. You might remember how long it took us to actually get to review an iQOS in the early days of the site. Well, it’s not like that now.

Some of the early devices we got from Chinese manufacturers were a bit on the crude side. I’m not going to name any names here, but if you’ve been reading my reviews you can probably guess the ones I’m talking about. Things are moving fast, though, and over the last few months I’ve had a couple of very nice devices sitting on my desk.

Well, now I have another couple. Last week the boat from China brought me two examples of the new Jouz, yet another vaporiser that runs on Philip Morris’s increasingly popular HEETs. So without further ado, let’s see what it’s like.

 

The Review

The Jouz comes in a nice hard plastic box, which (for my samples, at least) has a cardboard outer cover around it. Tear off the cardboard and open the box, and the Jouz is sitting there in the usual moulded plastic tray. The tray lifts out to reveal an instruction leaflet in English and Mandarin, and a warranty card. Under those is another tray containing a selection of goodies. There’s a USB charging cable, a nice cleaning brush, a pack of pipecleaners and a couple of covers for the heating chamber. There are two covers because you’re going to lose the first one and need a spare. Then you’re going to lose that too. The accessories all seem good quality, though, adding up to a very nicely presented package.

The device itself is about the shape of a large lipstick. It has a roughly square cross section with well-rounded corners, making it very comfortable to hold. It’s chunkier and heavier than the Switch I looked at a couple of weeks ago (although a little bit shorter), and significantly larger than an iQOS holder, but it’s still a pretty compact device. The body appears to be plastic, with a nice satin finish that gives a decent grip. The removable top cap has a metal reinforcing ring around the opening for the heating chamber; those plastic covers plug into this opening, until you lose them. The top cap itself can be slipped off for cleaning; a couple of notches ensure it can only be put back in the correct alignment with the blade, and a magnet holds it in place.

Build quality is excellent throughout. All the parts fit together perfectly and the Jouz has a real high-quality feel to it. A lot of engineering has gone into this device; I was thoroughly impressed.

Under the top cap the Jouz is remarkably tidy. The top surface is flat, with a vented tubular heating chamber projecting from the centre. Inside the chamber is a ceramic heating blade. The neat setup makes it very easy to clean.

I’m getting to know how people make these devices now, so after checking out the top cap I looked at the base expecting to see the usual micro USB charging port. Much to my surprise, I didn’t. In fact I couldn’t see it anywhere else either. Then I noticed a circular insert in the base, with a small dot at one side. Push the dot and the insert tilts slightly, exposing the charging port set into one edge. This is a neat touch that keeps pocket fluff and dust out of the port when you’re not using it.

All actual control of the device is handled by a single power button just below the top cap. This blends extremely well with the body – so well it’s actually quite hard to spot – and has three small white LEDs set into it.

Vaping the Jouz

The first step, as usual, was to charge the battery. This took just under two hours, with progress marked by the three LEDs lighting up one by one as the charge filled up. When all three were glowing steadily I unplugged it, flipped the base a few times just because it was fun, removed and lost the cover for the cleaning chamber and shoved in a HEET. The chamber is a nice easy fit for the sticks – there’s no trouble getting them in.

With a HEET in place all you need to do is hold down the power button for three seconds until the device vibrates to signal that it’s powered up and heating. Once that happens it takes almost exactly 20 seconds to reach operating temperature. That’s not stunningly fast, but it is about average, so no complaints there. When it’s ready to go it vibrates again; at that point I got puffing.

I have to say, I was pleased with the vape from the Jouz. It’s not quite up there with the iQOS 2.4 Plus, which really is the gold standard in the vapour department, but it’s still very good. There’s no shortage of vapour and it’s dense and richly flavoured, although the taste did begin to fall off noticeably towards the end of the HEET. That seems to be pretty unavoidable with this technology, although again iQOS has a bit of an edge.

Each session with the Jouz lasts five and a half minutes or 14 puffs, whatever comes first. The device vibrates to signal that you’re down to the last 20 seconds or two puffs, so you can grab a final bit of nicotine before it shuts down. Once it switches off just slide the top cap up half an inch to get the HEET off the blade, take it out and let the magnet snap the cap down into place. Then look for the dust cover you’ve lost and get the spare one from the box.

Because Jouz is a fairly small device it doesn’t have massive battery capacity. Even so, a full charge is good for at least 15 HEETs, so it should get you through most of a day before you have to plug it in.

The Verdict

I really, really like the Jouz. It’s compact, very well made, simple to use and maintain, and gives a decent vape. Are there any negatives? Well, I’d like a bit more battery capacity (as always) and it’s just a bit too heavy to leave it hanging from my lip as I work, but apart from that it ticks all the right boxes. Is this a match for the iQOS? Probably not, but if you want a Heat not Burn device that’s self-contained, rather than relying on a charging case, the Jouz should be close to the top of your list. It’s an excellent product.

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Pod Mod Review – The Vype ePen 3

Vype ePen 3

I’ve talked about pod mods a couple of times recently, and last month I reviewed the new iQOS Mesh from Philip Morris International. I have to admit that although I usually vape on complicated high-power devices that could give military smokescreen generators a run for their money, I do like these simple but effective new e-cigarettes. They’re small, and easy to carry around. They don’t dribble liquid into my pockets. They don’t need backed up by a pocketful of liquid bottles, massive spare batteries and recoiling kit. And they give a decent vape, too.

Anyway, I’ve spent the last week testing the latest pod mod from British American Tobacco – the Vype ePen 3. This follows on from previous Vape pod systems, and it’s pretty state of the art. Is it like JUUL? Not quite – that’s a unique product and, thanks to the EU’s idiotic laws on nicotine levels, is only available in the UK in a watered-down version that everyone is telling me doesn’t work very well. The ePen 3 was designed from the start to work within the restrictions imposed by our masters in Brussels, and that means BAT have taken a different approach.

What I’ve been playing with recently is an ePen 3 starter kit and three packs of refill pods, so let’s cut the waffle and see how it went.

The Review

The ePen 3 comes in a neat little cardboard box. Slide off the outer sleeve and open the lid, and you’ll find the device wedged into a couple of recesses in a plastic insert. Lift it out and underneath is a pack of two pods – one Blended Tobacco and one Crushed Mint. You can also open a flap at one end of the box and rummage around inside the insert; there’s a USB charging cable hidden in there. It’s not fancy packaging, but it works.

Getting back to the device, this is a sleek and lightweight unit. In fact it’s very lightweight. The body is entirely plastic, which makes sense in a pod mod. It doesn’t need the extra strength of metal to cope with heavy batteries or attaching an atomiser, so plastic both cuts costs and reduces weight. The ePen 3 is so light that I could slip it in my pocket and forget it was there. That doesn’t really happen with my usual Rouleaux RX200, which is approximately the same size and weight as a young elephant.

I’d call the ePen 3 cigar-shaped, except it isn’t. Well OK, it’s the shape a cigar would be if it was flattened into a rounded-off diamond profile. Again this makes it easy to slip in a pocket, and there’s no danger of it rolling off your desk either. It’s pretty simple, too; there’s a micro USB charging port in the base, and an open top end to plug in the pod. Apart from that the only control is a single power/fire button on the front of the device, with a nice embossed Vype logo below it.

The pods just snap into the open end of the device; they seem to work either way up, so there’s no chance of screwing up here. Each pod holds a TPD-compliant 2ml of liquid, and there’s a choice of three strengths – 6, 12 or 18mg/ml. Personally, with a relatively low-powered device like this I’d go with 18mg/ml every time, especially if you’re a smoker looking to quit, but if you really want the lower strengths they’re available.

You get a choice of seven flavours with the ePen 3 – Golden Tobacco, Blended Tobacco, Crisp Mint, Infused Vanilla, Dark Cherry, Fresh Apple or Wild Berries. As well as the starter pack that came in the kit I got packs of Blended Tobacco, Crisp Mint (although for some reason they actually said “Master Blend” and “Crushed Mint. Oh well; same thing) and Wild Berries.

Vaping the Vype

Anyway, after I got bored of fondling the ePen – which took a while, because it has a rather nice soft-touch finish – I plugged it in to charge. A full charge takes around two hours, but it arrived with the battery about half full. The LED in the power button glows red while it’s charging, so once that went out I grabbed a pod and went to work.

Actually getting a pod out of the packaging was the worst part of the ePen experience. They come in blister packs, and they’re pretty tough. I tried just pressing the pod out through the foil backing as usual, and I couldn’t do it. This wasn’t a case of weak fingers either; I shoot an English longbow as a hobby, so if anyone ever sets up a finger-wrestling tournament I’m probably in with a good chance there. These packs are just tough. I eventually took a knife to the foil and got it out that way.

Once you’ve managed to extricate a pod it all gets much easier. Snap the pod into the device – as I said, there’s no way to mess this up – then press the fire button quickly five times to power up. A green LED will glow for a few seconds to show you it’s switched on, and then all you have to do is press the fire button and take a puff.

So this was the moment of truth. How well does the ePen 3 actually vape, and is it good enough to act as a replacement for cigarettes? Well, as you’d expect this is no sub-ohm powerhouse, but does it work? Yes it does. Vapour production isn’t massive, but it’s definitely more than adequate. The vapour is dense and satisfying, much more like a good clearomiser than an old-style cigalike. The flavour was also excellent with the Blended Tobacco and Mint pods, although I found the Wild Berry a bit weak and artificial.

When a pod is empty the power switch blinks red and the device shuts down, telling you it’s time to wrestle with the packaging again and fit a new one. I got through about two pods a day, which at £3.49 a pack makes this a lot cheaper than smoking. Vype say a full charge on the battery will last a whole day. I think that’s a bit optimistic myself, but it does have a pass-through mode, so you can easily vape as you recharge.

One thing to be aware of is that the ePen 3 does like turning itself off. If you hold the fire button for more than eight seconds it turns off. If you don’t press the fire button at all for ten minutes it turns off. If the pod runs dry it turns off. You’ll probably find yourself clicking away at the button quite regularly, but this is a minor nuisance at worst; overall, vaping this little Vype is a pretty positive experience.

The Verdict

I have to say, I was impressed with the ePen 3. It’s compact and lightweight, simple to use and works well. If you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful pod mod that gives a good vape and a painless user experience, this one from British American Tobacco is definitely worth a look.

 

 

IQOS MESH BANNER

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The Switch – Heat not Burn UK exclusive review

Switch heat not burn device

I’m getting quite used to product reviews now. I have to admit, when I started writing for Heat not Burn UK it was a real struggle to find new material. There weren’t many devices around, they were mostly on sale only in restricted test markets, and they were as rare as rocking horse turds anyway.

Well, that’s all changed now. Over the last few months we’ve had a string of reviews, mostly on new HEET-based systems from China, and they’re still coming. I have two different devices on their way to me now – one HnB gadget and the latest Vype pod mod from BAT – so they’ll be getting tested over the next few weeks, but actually I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here. Let’s focus on what’s sitting on my desk right now.

For the last few days I’ve been testing the Switch, a brand new HnB device from China. This is a very interesting little vaporiser, and I like it a lot. Like most of the ones I’ve tested so far it uses Philip Morris’s HEET tobacco sticks, which were developed for their own iQOS but now seem to have become the standard. That’s good news for anyone that fancies a Switch, of course; if you decide to get one, the consumables you need are now widely available.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s have a look at the thing and see what it’s like!

The Review

The Switch comes in the usual cardboard box. There’s a flap at one side secured by a couple of magnets, and lifting that and the top reveals the Switch. The device is fitted snugly in a moulded plastic tray; lift that out and there’s a box of accessories tucked inside it. In there you’ll find a pack of cotton buds for cleaning, a brush and a charging cable. All the accessories seem to be decent quality; the brush isn’t as nice as the ones that come with the iQOS or Lil, but it’s perfectly functional – and, let’s be honest; how often are you going to pull it out in the pub and say “Hey, look at my tiny brush!”? Yes, exactly.

Moving to the device itself, the Switch looks a bit like a long, slim lipstick holder. It has a squarish cross section and while it’s a good bit chunkier than the iQOS holder it’s only about half an inch longer. It isn’t much heavier either, which I like. I suspect pretty much the whole thing is plastic, but it feels pretty sturdy. Everything is nicely moulded and the body and top cap fit together well. It’s also very light, which with a device this small is a real plus for reasons I’ll get to later.

The Switch is a simple device. The body has a top cap that slides off for cleaning; a plastic cage inside this holds the HEET, and of course there’s a hole in the top. Inside, there’s a spike-shaped ceramic heating element. There’s only one control on the body – a square power button with an LED-illuminated surround. A micro-USB charging port on the base, and a nice Switch logo, complete the package. As I said, simple. Overall, after poking around in the box and playing with the Switch, I was pretty impressed and very keen to try it out.

 

Vaping the Switch

I have no idea about the Switch’s battery capacity but obviously, given the size of the device, it wasn’t going to be enormous. The benefit of that is a quick charging time; a full charge takes less than 45 minutes. Once the red light behind the power button changed to blue, I broke open a pack of my favourite Bronze HEETs and slotted one into the hole at the top.

To activate the Switch you just need to hold down the power button; after three seconds the device vibrates and the button lights up with a nice pulsing glow. It took bang on 20 seconds to heat up to operating temperature, which is nothing special compared to the Lil or NOS but definitely acceptable; when it gets there it lets you know by vibrating again, and the pulsing button changes to a steady glow.

The Switch has a two-level temperature control function. Any time it’s powered up you can switch between modes with two rapid presses on the power button. When it’s in normal temperature mode the button glows blue; switch to high temperature and it changes to purple.

Anyway, how does it vape? Pretty well! I tried it in both temperature modes. At the standard setting there was plenty of vapour and the flavour was excellent. It isn’t quite as good as the iQOS, but it’s very close. The vapour is also warm, and both quantity and flavour hold up well until the end of the session – the Switch shuts off automatically after four minutes or (I think) twelve puffs, with a warning vibration when you have 20 seconds or two puffs to go.

Changing up to the high temperature setting, I personally found the vape more satisfying, although I did smoke fearsome high-tar German cigarettes. On the down side both flavour and quantity of vapour started to fall off noticeably towards the end of each session, so I’d suggest that for most people the standard mode is the way to go.

 

I mentioned that I liked the Switch’s small size and light weight. I’m a writer, and I can write a lot faster and more accurately when I have both hands free. That means I have a slight problem with larger devices, in that I can either try to type one-handed until I’ve finished a HEET, or I can put the device down between puffs. The problem with putting it down is that, at least half the time, I promptly get caught up in what I’m doing and forget about it until a buzz reminds me that I’ve just wasted most of a HEET. That’s one reason I love the iQOS so much; I can leave it dangling from my lip like a real cigarette and puff away freely while I write.

Well, the Switch is just small and light enough that I can do the same with it. A couple of times the device ended up in my lap while the HEET stayed in my mouth, but in general it worked pretty well. As of now, if iQOS disappeared from the face of the Earth tomorrow the Switch would probably become my main HnB device.

On the down side, that small size comes with a major penalty – battery capacity. iQOS gets round this by using the PCC to recharge between sessions, but with Switch you need to plug it in. Unfortunately you’re going to have to do that pretty often, because the battery only holds enough juice for nine HEETs before the power button turns red. It does recharge quickly though, so carrying a small power bank and topping up from that between HEETs should get you through the day.

Apart from recharging, care of the Switch was pretty easy. Because the element is a spike rather than a blade you can give used HEETs a twist then pull them out; alternatively just slide the top cap off and the HEET will come with it. Cleaning was easy, thanks to the nice big heating chamber, and the supplied brush worked well.

The verdict

Overall I was very impressed with the Switch. Its big drawback is the short battery life, but that’s only to be expected from a device this compact. There’s a direct correlation between battery capacity and size, and if you want a small device you have to settle for a small battery. Apart from that, though, it’s great. The vape is good, it seems well-made and durable, and the complete package is by far the most compact HnB device I’ve seen yet. Yes, the iQOS holder is smaller, but it lives in the PCC. The Switch is a standalone device that isn’t much bigger than an iQOS holder, and I think that alone makes it an attractive option.

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