In 2016, I first saw an IQOS at a wedding, where a friend introduced me to this new device that had helped him quit smoking. The heated tobacco device was not available in the U.S at that time, and my friend had to source it from Europe. However, the technology has faced regulation hurdles and a patent dispute in the U.S., delaying its introduction.

The situation in Japan provides evidence of the success of heated tobacco products in reducing cigarette sales. A study by David Sweanor showed a significant decline in cigarette sales after the introduction of heated tobacco products. However, some experts are skeptical about the potential of heated tobacco to help smokers quit. Surveys showed that many users saw heated tobacco as a complement to cigarettes rather than a tool to quit.

Despite these uncertainties, the Japanese experience suggests that consumers are willing to try low-risk nicotine products like heated tobacco. Data from the Japanese market and similar studies on e-cigarettes indicate that these products can potentially help smokers quit. Additionally, the reduction in cigarette sales in Japan occurred without significant government intervention, suggesting that making safer alternatives available can have a positive impact.

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