Vapes are getting a bad rap, and the Centers for Illness Control and Prevention (CDC) recently revealed that the devices have been linked to more than 1,000 cases of severe lung disease. As of September 4, Iqos, Altria’s new e-cigarette alternative, will be available in the United States. In what ways does Iqos vary from other types of vaporizers?
CNBC reports that Altria and Philip Morris, the world’s largest tobacco company, worked together on Iqos until the companies split up in 2008. Despite the fact that the device is compact and sleek, it has a number of significant differences from a regular vaporizer.
There are less hazardous compounds produced since the tobacco is heated and not burnt, as in regular cigarettes. It is possible to buy Iqos in two different configurations: one with three components, including a heated tobacco unit; the other that integrates these components and enables users to use it up to ten times before recharging the batteries.
According to a statement from the Food and Drug Administration, Iqos was approved on April 30 for use in America via a procedure known as the premarket tobacco application (PMTA) route, which requires producers to show that their product is “suitable for the protection of public health.” That doesn’t mean it’s completely risk-free, but the FDA has concluded that Iqos “produces less or lower levels of different contaminants” than regular heated tobacco, and that it may help smokers kick the habit.
Vaporizers haven’t been exposed to this kind of scrutiny and testing in the past. There is still a long way to go before the FDA finalises a regulation that would mandate the removal of non-tobacco flavoured e-cigarettes from the market, and that policy isn’t likely to be finalised for many weeks, CNN reports. For example, vape companies have not been forced to promote their devices in a way that prevents them from slipping into the hands of youngsters or non-smokers, while the FDA places tight restrictions on things that go through this procedure.