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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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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.

iqos and 60 heets special offer

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A chorus of idiots

Hold my light

Personally I’m a fan of Philip Morris International’s “Hold My Light” campaign. I’ve been advocating for tobacco harm reduction for years, and it’s good to see PMI throw their weight behind the same cause. Campaigns like this have the potential to make a huge difference, and I think they should be encouraged.

If you missed it, Hold My Light is a multimedia campaign aimed at encouraging smokers to give up and switch to reduced-harm products. The centrepiece was a four-page advert in the Daily Mirror, backed by a website, video and other promotional material, and the theme was the simple message that if you smoke, it’s better to quit. You wouldn’t think that would be at all controversial, would you? Well, you’d be wrong.

Despite Hold My Light saying exactly the same thing as they’ve been saying for decades, anti-tobacco activists have greeted the campaign with an absolute shitstorm of criticism and abuse. Starting the day of its launch, PMI have been bombarded with wild accusations and hysterical conspiracy theories from a collection of people who really should know better, but very obviously don’t.

Cancer Reasearch UK

Cancer craziness

First up, we have George Butterworth from Cancer Research UK. I’ve been involved with vaping advocacy since 2013, and I know that among vapers there are some pretty mixed feelings about CRUK. The charity does generally support vaping as a safer alternative to smoking, but on the other hand it also tends to back more restrictions on what we’re actually allowed to vape. CRUK was a big fan of the EU’s notorious Tobacco Products Directive, for example, despite being repeatedly warned the law would take a lot of very good products off the market. George Butterworth “welcomed” the TPD, claiming it would reassure vapers that e-cigs were safer than smoking. That’s an odd thing to say about a law that enforced health warnings on every e-cigarette and bottle of liquid.

Now he’s at it again. Butterworth, who’s been telling smokers to quit for years, is frothing with rage at PMI because they’re running a campaign telling smokers to quit. He accused the company of “staggering hypocrisy”, apparently because PMI still advertises its cigarettes in countries where people like Butterworth haven’t banned them from doing it.

What Butterworth doesn’t get is that PMI, being a publicly traded company, has a legal obligation to look after its investors’ money. That means selling products, of course, but you can’t expect someone who’s never had to make a profit to understand that. Instead he says “The best way Philip Morris could help people to stop smoking is to stop making cigarettes.”

Well, this just tells us that George Butterworth is a complete idiot. Hasn’t he learned anything from Prohibition, or the decades-long and totally failed war against drugs? If Philip Morris stop making cigarettes tomorrow, smokers will just buy them from somewhere else. If all tobacco companies stop making cigarettes tomorrow, say hello to a global explosion of organised crime that will make Al Capone and the Medellin cartel look about as serious as shoplifting a Kit Kat.

PMI can’t just stop making cigarettes, and anyone who understands anything about economics knows that. As long as a there’s a demand for cigarettes – and that isn’t going to change anytime soon – someone is going to be making and selling them. It can be regulated tobacco companies like PMI who pay tax and obey the law, or it can be organised crime. “Nobody” is just not an option.

Action on smoking and health

Pains in the ASH

And then there’s Action on Smoking and Health. I don’t like ASH at all; this is no secret. I’ve had a public run-in with their CEO, Deborah Arnott, and chest-poked a couple of her minions over their bullying, coercive approach to vaping, harm reduction and everything else they choose to stick their noses into. So guess what? Their reaction to the Hold My Light campaign annoys me too.

First out of the box to whine about the campaign was of course Debs Arnott herself, a sour-faced specimen with the general demeanour of a small-town traffic warden. Arnott claimed, bizarrely, that the campaign is an attempt to make an end run around the UK’s ban on tobacco advertising. I don’t have a marketing degree, but to me it seems like advertising a product by telling people to stop using it isn’t really the way ahead.

Arnott was followed by Hazel Cheeseman, ASH’s director of policy. I’ve met her too. More pleasant than Arnott but just as misguided, Cheeseman is an earnest-looking creature better suited to teaching small children than making policy. Describing the campaign as “simply PR puff,” Cheeseman suggested that if PMI were serious about achieving a smoke-free world they would stop opposing anti-smoking legislation that “will really help smokers quit”. What she means is nonsense like plain packs and display bans, which real-world evidence says don’t achieve anything, and of course ever-increasing punitive taxes.

Get real

Let’s get this straight: I have spoken to senior people at PMI (and other tobacco companies). I have been to the Cube at Neuchatel and seen the time and money PMI are investing in reduced-risk products. I have used those products myself, and I enjoy using them.

None of Cheeseman’s regulations would ever have stopped me smoking. Higher taxes? I’d just have bought cheaper food to free up some money. Graphic health warnings? I’d have worked to collect the full set, then frame them and hang them on my wall. Plain packs? I used a cigarette case anyway. These laws are all useless, because they’re written and lobbied for by nanny statist clowns who don’t understand how real people think.

The truth is that all the outrage being thrown at Hold My Light by the likes of Butterworth, Arnott and Cheeseman is just self-righteous indignation. How dare PMI break out of their bad guy stereotype! How dare they work towards the same goal as CRUK and ASH? And how very double dare they do it by selling products that real people actually enjoy using? At this point it doesn’t matter what PMI choose to do; it’s going to be wrong, simply because they’re the ones doing it. If they ignore harm reduction and just keep selling Marlboro they’re heartless and don’t care about their customers. If they try to persuade people to switch to safer products they’re hypocrites. Any time they do anything that satisfies one of their opponents’ demands, those demands will simply mutate into something new and probably ridiculous.

Well, I’m sick of people like Arnott and Butterworth sticking their oars in all the time. Who elected these people? What did they ever contribute to our lives beyond endless bitching and whining? By what right do they tell private citizens what they should or shouldn’t do? It’s time for them to shut up and live our own lives the way we choose.

One of the better choices we can make is to quit smoking. As much as I enjoyed smoking it really isn’t very good for you, so it makes sense to stop – just like PMI are saying. And if you want to do that by switching to one of PMI’s safer products, like iQOS or Mesh, don’t pay any attention to carping nobodies like Cheeseman; just go ahead and do it.