Sunday 28 October 2018

A 'Stalwart Smoker' Tries iQos

A few years ago a friend of mine who travels incredibly regularly for business wrote some guest blogs here. You can see them on the Bear Tripper tag. 

Having recently tried an iQos for the first time after not having heard of it until earlier this month, Bear sent some interesting initial thoughts as a blog article. 

Note: I am not Dick Puddlecote.

I am a stalwart smoker of cigarettes.

Years ago I tried e-cigs when they were new on the market, in fact I was the one who first introduced DP to one in 2009. As someone who travels on an extremely regular basis, I found that the e-cig was helpful in many ways, most notably for use in some no smoking hotel rooms where the policies on smoking are particularly draconian, however I still wanted a proper cigarette. I found e-cigs dried my mouth.

Just a supporting note on that, there are still many smoking hotel rooms, no matter what people say, and it's quite rare on my travels that I don't find them. If you're a regular traveller - especially on business expenses - you are a good customer and I treat those hotels well for their understanding approach to people like me.

Enter the IQOS which I have only just heard about (which says something about the lack of marketing, why are smokers like me prevented from hearing about it? I can only guess that it is because anti-smokers are blocking marketing). It is described as the healthier way to smoke. I had to try this, obviously. My first thought was ‘what a great idea’.  However, after pondering, I kept asking myself the same question. Why?

This is a ‘healthier’ way to smoke but wherever I've tried to use it I am still faced with going outside. If you use an e-cig, nobody knows you ‘smoked’ in a room. With IQOS, you can’t do that. A colleague told me that using IQOS meant he didn’t smell of smoke anymore, but not convinced the hotels or bars would see it that way, regardless of whether or not it had no harm to others.

I was an early adopter of e-cigs, as mentioned earlier, and I remember asking about using it in a couple of bars and was told, at the time that I couldn't. Their understanding of the smoking ban was so poor that they were worried it would be seen as smoking. In truth, they didn't know what e-cigs were and the fines for allowing smoking are so draconian that they didn't want to take the risk. I now see anti-smoking organisations including e-cigs in their campaigns but find it quite hypocritical because uptake would be much better if they had spoken up in the early days so that bars weren't afraid of allowing them. It's probably too late now. As Dick often says, it's not about health is it?

Some bars have now accepted and encouraged vaping, but very few in this country. I have found that the attitude in mainland Europe is far better than in the UK despite this country being praised for being welcoming towards vaping. Maybe that tells us something about the attitudes of Brits and our reluctance to turning a blind eye to silly laws.

Will IQOS be the same? Will we be allowed to smoke a ‘safe’ cigarette? Given that it is like the invasion of the bodysnatchers these days where people point and roar if you smoke, drink, eat chocolate, drink fizzy drinks etc, I am not sure we will have that option. Since trying the product I have looked up articles about it and found nothing but health organisations trying to demonise it before it gets started.

As to IQOS itself. I like the idea. I did find it dry and did not like the ‘taste’ but that was the same with e-cigs in the beginning. It can only be improved. New flavours could prove popular.

We then get to cost and availability. Heets are not that cheap. Will this cost reduce and will they be more available as they grow more popular?

I would like to keep trying IQOS, and will do until the Heets I currently have run out (or beyond if I enjoy it and can easily find more), but I am not seeing the advantage yet. The smoking ban was clearly not about health or else we would be seeing far more vaping allowed in public places. but with IQOS the outlook seems to me to be even worse. So why are we trying to make smoking healthier when we are still banned and thrown outdoors.

If someone in the anti-smoking movement can explain that to me, I'd think harder about whether to carry on trying something safer, but all the while I am thrown out into the cold I'll carry on with the fags, thanks. 

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