As companies like Philip Morris roll-out their Heat-not-Burn devices in more and more places, it’s important to remember what’s at stake
India currently holds the second largest population of smokers in the world. With so many that could benefit from using them, it’s very sad to see such strict regulations against vaporizers there. In fact, many Indian states have outright bans on vaping products altogether. Meanwhile, the tobacco industry retains their firm grasp there. Even so, the tides have begun to turn as companies like Philip Morris get more involved with smoke-free alternatives.
PMI sees this as an opportunity to gain a strong foothold in the smoking alternatives market that they’ve been unable to grasp elsewhere. The Big Tobacco giant has long seen the writing on the wall, openly admitting that they are planning for a future without cigarettes, and their heat-not-burn iQOS product seems to be their start. Their expansion into the untapped Indian market has many in the vaping community worried about their ultimate goals.
iQOS and India
For those who are unfamiliar, the iQOS is a heat not burn device which means it uses a small stick of tobacco to produce vapor instead of an e-liquid. The device heats the tobacco without burning it so the user can inhale the resulting vapor. It is important to note that this is not exactly the same as vapor you get from most common vaporizers, but according to research, it’s still much safer than smoking.
Famously known for its strict vaping regulations, many people in and outside of India have urged lawmakers to implement more effective laws regarding smoking alternatives. Indian officials have remained staunchly opposed to other smoking alternatives, yet somehow they have become rather open-minded when discussing the possibility of the iQOS. This has many skeptical of their true motive, but regardless it seems this will soon be a reality.
The Alternatives Market
It’s no mystery that Big Tobacco companies have been put out by the rising popularity of vaporizers around the world. They’ve tried to elbow their way into the market with these tobacco heat-not-burn products. Some companies have even tried to build their own vaporizers but have so far been unable to keep up with the ever advancing technology. They have been proven to be unsuccessful in many of the largest markets around the world since, unsurprisingly, people trying to quit smoking don’t necessarily trust the companies that have been happily profiting from poisoning them for years.
Getting this foothold in India, with their immense population of smokers, would be a big win for Philip Morris and would set a precedent for other countries with strict regulations on vaporizers to accept this specific product. With the money and backing that these giant companies have they are much more than able to hire the right lobbyists and grease the right palms to get their products in the stores of stricter countries.
The vaping industry has stayed fiercely independent from the tobacco industry since its inception, and with good reason. After all, these products were invented to help people quit smoking and to reduce the amount of damage and risk they are putting their bodies through. The ultimate goal of vaping is often to wean yourself off nicotine and in the process learn to be tobacco free. Almost all of the advancements the vaping industry has made are done with these goals in mind. The people working in this industry all seem to have a driving passion for supporting others in their fights to quit.
Philip Morris and other Big Tobacco companies would still prefer if people used tobacco. They believe packaging it in a different way and leaning into the smoke-free status makes them trustworthy. They have proven over their long histories that they are more than willing to hide the truth. They’re willing to add harmful substances to their products if it will help them turn a greater profit. The people running these companies aren’t doing it for the love they have for helping people or a driving passion. They develop these products to get money, plain and simple. Their ultimate goal is to line their pockets, and they have repeatedly proven they are willing to do that to the detriment of millions. We can’t let them weasel their way into the vaping industry and give them another shot to lead us astray.
Do you think we should support HnB devices even though Big Tobacco primarily makes them? What’s the best way to prevent Big Tobacco from stealing a large chunk of the vaping industry? How can we teach more people about the benefits of vaping? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.