With the burgeoning demand for smokeless cigarettes, big tobacco is getting in on things quickly through their various ecigarette brands. After all, in the race to find a safer means of nicotine delivery, ecigarettes are innovating where Big Pharma has been stagnating.
Safer nicotine delivery really is the name of the game. We know how much nicotine is in a cigarette but we also know tobacco smoke is the most dangerous nicotine delivery system possible. Finding the safest and still satisfying form of providing the nicotine needed to manage cravings is a recipe for success.
It’s not that big tobacco companies haven’t thought about this possibility before, and in the case of Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds they invested millions, but the technology just wasn’t there. The interest in smokeless cigarettes, also called electronic cigarettes, in this day and age is a direct result of the technological breakthrough executed so well by grassroots e-cigarette brands.
For Philip Morris, RJ Reynolds, and the rest of big tobacco, this is about attempting yet again to perfect nicotine delivery after their mainstay traditional tobacco cigarette products have been stigmatized to the hilt.
It isn’t as if they are hiding their overall goals either. Just take the statements made by Dr. Patrick Picavet in this New York Times article. Picavet currently serves as the director of clinical assessment for Philip Morris International and he explains how their efforts in this field are “guided by two objectives.” Those two would be “To develop a range of products that can be scientifically substantiated to reduce risks and that are acceptable substitutes for smokers who can’t or aren’t willing to quit.” Seems pretty straightforward, right?
Unfortunately for big tobacco, and for smokers, this goal has proven to be incredibly hard to achieve. For the decades following the public realization of how bad tobacco cigarettes actual were, and the huge lawsuits that coincided with that, big tobacco poured in money for researching alternatives.
They rightly knew back then that the market for tobacco cigarettes wouldn’t be endless, as more smokers tried to get away from the negative health effects that come with their daily ritual.
RJ Reynolds had released what is called a “heat but not burn” device way back in 1996.
It was called Eclipse and it was supposed to take tobacco and heat it so that smokers could take in tobacco smoke but without the negative effects of inhaling burning tobacco. It flopped and the tobacco giant has been forced to pay millions for the false advertising of it.
But here we are in 2015 and RJ Reynolds is ready to re-introduce that product, re-naming it Revo. This time they will approach the product differently, with RJ Reynolds spokesman David Howard saying they will market the Revo Cigarette as a product that “offers less cigarette smoke smell and no ashes.”
Philip Morris has poured in millions of dollars themselves into a similar product called iQOS. The same “smoke but not burn” angle is being used with iQOS, but Philip Morris hopes that trial studies will bear out enough data so they can apply to the FDA to label it a “modified risk” product.
That essentially means it would be sanctioned as a product that, although it can’t be called safe or healthy, is scientifically proven to be better than tobacco cigarettes.
What ecigarette brands are finding is that they need to find a way to deliver the same type of nicotine hit that smokers expect out of a traditional tobacco cigarette. Otherwise their smokeless cigarettes will fail just like the heat but not burn types did in the past.
This is why Altria (the US counterpart of Philip Morris) quickly upped the nicotine level in the MarkTen ecig brand after it was released. Blu eCig approached it differently, by adding a bigger battery to their system in the hopes of producing better output. NJOY also took notice and is now using a pharmaceutical ingredient in their e-liquid that elevates the nicotine delivery rate to 70% of what it is in a tobacco cigarette.
What all of this means, from nicotine levels being upped, to Rev and iQOS being tested for release, is that everyone is taking another shot at providing a viable alternative to for smokers. They understand that smoking is on the way out and the faster one can come up with an alternative that works, the better their likelihood is of surviving. Because that is where this is headed after all, a battle for survival.
In order to do that, ecigarette brands and any type of smokeless cigarettes in general will have to come closer to what tobacco cigarettes provide. We feel confident in our top rated ecig favorites and think they can help many smokers. Yet we are still intrigued and excited by what is to come next, because as technology and money if focused on this goal, smokers will be the ones who win out.