Here at Heat not Burn UK we’re always watching the news for anything that relates to your favourite reduced-harm nicotine products. Most of what we find is pretty dry – usually some article about the effect of iQOS sales on share prices that we can barely understand. Sometimes we do come up with interesting little gems, though, and this week our biggest finds were two new devices that are now on sale in trial markets. We’ll be doing our best to get reviews for you as soon as we can – but here’s what we know for now.
New iQOS debuts in Korea
Philip Morris International has announced that the latest version of the iQOS is now on sale in South Korea. The iQOS 3 DUO is an update to the existing iQOS 3, rather than an all-new design, but it promises a lot of extra convenience and performance.
The big difference with the DUO is in battery performance. Unlike all previous iQOS holders, which had enough internal power to get through a single stick, the new one holds enough charge to vape two HEETs. If you feel the need for an extra nicotine infusion, and the delay while your holder charges has been frustrating you, the 3 DUO is the solution.
As well as its increased capacity, PMI say the DUO holder charges much faster than previous versions. This obviously makes the device even more convenient, and according to PMI it makes more efficient use of the personal charging case’s battery – so you should get more charges as well as faster ones.
Finally, the DUO holder is backwards compatible and will be sold separately as well as in a full kit. If you already have an iQOS 3 you can get a DUO holder to go with it, and keep the original one to use when the DUO is charging.
It looks like PMI are determined to get the DUO off to a flying start in Korea. So far they’ve announced an upgrade programme to let iQOS 2.4+ users move to the 3 DUO at a reduced price. Will these be available when the device rolls out in other markets, including the UK? Who knows? It sounds like this is a worthwhile upgrade anyway, though.
BAT Goes HnB Hybrid
PMI aren’t the only ones with a new product on the Korean market. British American Tobacco is also testing the waters, this time with an HnB/e-cig hybrid. We’ve seen these before, with the iFuse and Lil Hybrid, and they haven’t been a total success. The basic idea – using a conventional coil and e-liquid to create vapour, then drawing it through real tobacco to add flavour – seems sound. It just doesn’t seem too easy to make it work.
BAT think the concept has enough potential that they’ve developed the Glo Sens around it. This is a pod mod-style device, but unlike the iFuse it uses two separate pods – one for liquid and one for tobacco. A pack contains one liquid and three tobacco pods, and is supposed to last for a full day. The device’s battery should also go a day on a full charge, so if it lives up to that it could score highly for convenience.
From the three-to-one ratio of a pod pack BAT seem to think the tobacco is the weak link in previous hybrid designs, and they’re trying to make sure there’s always a fresh enough supply. Will it work? Maybe. The good news here is that we expect to have one to test pretty soon, so we’ll let you know!
iQOS expands in the USA
After a seemingly endless battle to get past the FDA’s tortuous approval process, iQOS finally went on sale in the USA in September. Initially it was only available from a single store in Atlanta, Georgia. Over the last two months PMI have rolled it out to several more outlets around Atlanta. Now they’re expanding to a new city – Richmond, Virginia.
There’s some significance in this for PMI, because Richmond is the company’s hometown. They’re planning to use the same strategy as they did in Atlanta. A single iQOS Store will open this month in the city’s Carytown district, selling kits and accessories. Meanwhile around 150 retailers in the city will sell HEETs, rapidly building a network of shops where users can get daily supplies.
Right now only the iQOS 2.4 is available in the USA. The FDA’s licensing process is incredibly petty, and the authorisation it grants only applies to a single model of the device. However, in recognition of how fast HnB technology is changing the agency has now announced an accelerated approval pathway for technological upgrades to approved products. That means more advanced iQOS versions could potentially be approved for the US market quite quickly.
Philippines plans HnB “sin” tax
There’s potentially bad news for HnB fans in the Philippines, where strongman president Rodrigo Duterte has launched harsh – and often brutal – crackdowns against all sorts of recreational substances. Filipino iQOS users hopefully won’t face death squads like the ones who’ve been turned loose on the country’s drug users, but it does look like they’ll be hit with a punitive new sales tax.