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In Japan the old tobacco players are back with a new e-cigarette

August 24, 2018

Ugh! hearkening back to the days of big tobacco there is a “heated” battle in Japan between big players for consumers in the e-cigarette market. I will refer to it as the “heat not burn war” and the battlefield is Japan. Sure, you can read about this on such sites as Reuters, Bloomberg or CNBC but why!?!? Read all about it here and get a “somewhat” unbiased opinion. No fake news(wink).

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This subject is so fluid and moving so quickly that everything on the subject is literally changing from month to month this year…2018. It’s so dynamic that consumers, the e-cigarette devices themselves, the Japanese government and tobacco giants like Philip Morris are affecting the “heat not burn war” so much it’s hitting the world stage and everyone is following and reporting on it. Forbes is another publication following this “heated” debate. I’ll stop with the puns now. I promise. What’s going on with all of this? A few years back Japan banned the sale and importing of nicotine based e-liquids. This made things a bit tough to say the least on people who vape there. Also, Japan as a nation are smoking less since the government is also banning more of the traditional paper cigarettes every year. There is a trickle down effect now where business owners are following suit and banning places to smoke at as well such as restaurants etc… The powers that be there like Japan Tobacco International, which owns the San Francisco startup Ploom, now think that by creating a new product they may be able to fill a void and re-attract smokers with a new product. A sorta loophole product based on an e-cigarette to get around the Japanese government’s ban on e-juice with nicotine and the other bans on traditional smoking and yet fulfill the need for having a tobacco product that sorta burns. Sorta!? I’ll explain further down.

WHAT?! Sheesh. Okay. “Hey bro, do you ‘aerosol’ ? “ Plainly speaking these new devices emit less smoke therefor smell less smokey than traditional paper burn cigarettes. So I guess you can look at this in three categories. Smoke, vapor and now aerosol.

How this all came to be.

So I dont confuse the reader the first HNB product was not invented in Japan but was invented by R.J. Reynolds company in 1988 in the United States and was a failure initially. It’s been re-introduced in Japan. Japan Tobacco International (“The Japanese govt. owns one third of Japan Tobacco International”) will release a version of what’s also called a reduced risk product a.k.a. Heat Not Burn product this year named Ploom TECH to try to catch up with the big tobacco’s own Philip Morris and their product which was already released in Japan called the iQos and is touted by Philip Morris as a reduced risk product. These both are based on the e-cigarette shape.

Why are these new products trying to take hold and claim stake in Japan? Well, in 2009 there was a smoking ban in Japan called the smoke-free public places ordinance and it’s just now after about 9 years starting to really have an impact on traditional smokers and therefore by default the traditional cigarette. Impacting most importantly the biggest Japanese cigarette maker called Japan Tobacco International which the government of Japan owns one third of. Now that is the makings of a war if you ask me! A consumer war anyways.

Semantics: Smoke versus aerosol versus vapor. I can see the main differences between smoke and the 2 other categories but the difference between vapor and aerosol seems ridiculous in my opinion. This is a weak selling point for the R.R.P.’s (Reduced Risk product). If It’s an aerosol then in my opinion it’s a vapor of some sort…period. So what are they selling here? The R.R.P.’s (Reduced Risk product) do not offer much reduced risk when they offer less vapor and still offer heated tobacco in it’s granulated form versus a regular cigarette, un-granulated. I think they have managed to reduce smoke and that’s about all they have done. It’s possible that second hand smoke risk has been defeated but that was always the case anyways with vaping and e-liquid. It is still, that same case.

Stay tuned Or Logged In.

But wait, hold on, not so fast. Really, in the end where does this leave nicotine based e-liquid or liquids? Does this open up an entirely new illegal underground in Japan? A black market of vaping with e-juice that contains nicotine? Vape enthusiasts skulking around in seedy back alleys and dens of ill repute? This sounds mysterious and somewhat exciting to delve into more. That’s a separate writeup. Check back in with us here for updates this year on the HNB e-cigarette controversy and where this all leaves traditional vapors in Japan.

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