Around 55,000 households use IQOS in Japan. There were fewer than 1 million smokers in Japan in 2012 and the health ministry wants to boost the number to 5 million by the time the regulation on the product comes into effect in 2019.
The IQOS device is a rechargeable cartridge that uses tobacco. It heats up and fills the cartridge with vapor. Although IQOS does not use tobacco leaf in the actual production of the smoke, there is smoke produced in the inhalation of tobacco in the device.
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Vapor itself contains many chemicals and when it reaches the lungs of the smoker, it produces a lot of harmful substances.
The FDA is concerned that the amount of nicotine delivered is very high. Nicotine is the main addictive component of tobacco and nicotine has a direct impact on the brain. It increases the reward and pleasure perception. Nicotine also is converted to free radical substances and produces inflammation, which is why it also has a very negative effect on the body. Nicotine also has the effect of suppressing the immune system and causing tumors and cancer.
The FDA is not considering excluding IQOS from the category of tobacco products. They are going to restrict the marketing of the IQOS product and conduct a health evaluation. As a result of the enforcement of the regulation, smokers will still have the choice to use an e-cigarette. The combination of the e-cigarettes and the IQOS products could create a market of more than one million users in the U.S.
In Japan, the tobacco companies are trying to obtain clearance for the full use of e-cigarettes. They have been authorized to manufacture the product since August 2013, but this was limited to certain categories of users.
Another benefit for the tobacco companies is that with the addition of IQOS, they are losing market share to the Japanese tobacco companies.