With the next decade just around the corner – scary thought that – it’s time for those dastardly things called “resolutions”. It is a well-known fact that the vast majority don’t stick to those past the first month. They usually consist of “go to the gym more”, “eat better”, “drink less” or “quit smoking (or pretend to)”.
Yes, pretend to quit smoking. As with many other smokers we all, as a matter of course, decided to try again to give up smoking at the turn of a new year. Don’t ask me why we did that. We just did. Some, admittedly, were successful and props to them. Others, like me and thousands of others, barely made it a month.
A decade ago, or close enough that makes little difference, technology provided a way. Now, since 2018, technology has done it again.
All the Pleasure
There is a quaint term enshrined in English law called “the covenant of quiet enjoyment” which boils down to this:
The covenant for quiet enjoyment is therefore a covenant that the tenant’s lawful possession of the land will not be substantially interfered with by the acts of the lessor or those lawfully claiming under him.
OK, so it relates to tenancy, but the principle can be applied to almost anything as it means that you should be able to live “peaceably and quietly” without interference. This, to me, is the cornerstone underlying the pleasure principle. Whether you agree with it or not, many derive pleasure from smoking, many derive pleasure from vaping, and many derive pleasure from using heat-not-burn.
To me, enjoying whatever product you use is a classic case of the pleasure principle in action. Vaping isn’t for everyone, this has been highlighted time, and time again. There may be a plethora of devices out there, but such a broad choice can (and often is) overwhelming to some who just want something simple. If smokers enjoy the habit – and many do – but feel they should quit smoking because of health risks – and I’m not counting the incessant nagging from the State, or any other organisation/friend/family member here – there’s a place in the market for something that is just as enjoyable but, doesn’t have the same risks.
That’s where heat-not-burn steps in.
Heat-not-burn products use actual tobacco instead of a flavoured liquid and, because of this, they can mimic the sensation of smoking far better than vaping can. This is part of the reason why heat-not-burn has performed so well in countries where vaping is heavily restricted. It’s enjoyable and, it mimics smoking in such a way that actually appeals to smokers in a way that vaping can’t.
All well and good right? A device that looks, tastes and feels like smoking. But, what about the risks to health?
Is it Safe?
As most anyone will tell you, absolutely nothing in this world is 100% safe. It is fundamentally impossible to indulge in anything without taking some risk. Smoking and, by extension, smoking-like behaviours are no exception to that rule.
A lot of research into smoking came to one, relatively simple, conclusion with regards to risks:
“It’s the smoke, stupid”
Don’t believe everything you read in the news about vaping or heat-not-burn, particularly in reference to nicotine. Nicotine, on its own, isn’t particularly dependence forming. Sure, in the right doses it can kill you. But you’d have to ignore your body trying to expel the excess from the various systems – usually quite violently – to get that far. No, nicotine is a much maligned substance – mostly because of the numerous, and often over-exaggerated, claims from the alphabet organisations around the world.
Y’see, when you set something on fire – like a cigarette – there’s a tonne of unpleasant by-products, many of which are toxic to varying degrees. The biggest one is, of course, CO – Carbon Monoxide. The clue is, naturally, in the name of the act – smoking. The same goes for heat-not-burn too. There is no combustion so there’s no burning. No burning – particularly inefficient burning – to create the nasty by-products.
Heat-not-burn has been around for a few years now, and you’ll still hear claims of “we just don’t know” in relation to the safety. That simply isn’t true. Science as a whole has come an awfully long way from the development of the first tobacco cigarette (and the subsequent research into them), and the vapour from the latest generation of heat-not-burn devices has already been heavily studied. Both the industry produced science, and the science produced by independent researchers conclude that the levels of toxins produced are substantially lower from heat-not-burn than cigarettes. Almost on a par with vaping.
Give Me the Options
I quit smoking and switched to vaping in 2014, back before heat-not-burn became a “thing”, as the only effective alternative to smoking that wasn’t on prescription. How things have changed in such a short space of time. Heat-not-burn is a viable option for anyone looking to move away from lit tobacco while still keeping the pleasurable aspects of it.
An e-cigarette will never be able to reproduce the characteristic taste of heated, or lit, tobacco. Heat-not-burn can. If you want to try an alternative but are concerned that e-cigarettes won’t work for you because you want a familiar taste and sensation, the chances are heat-not-burn will work for you. The most popular heat-not-burn device, iQOS, is as close as you can get to the experience of smoking without the need to set anything on fire – unless you’ve got some left over chestnuts.