Philip Morris Is Post-Vape

Images: Getty
Images: Getty

Tobacco giant Philip Morris says it eventually wants people to quit smoking cigarettes, and is investing resources into high-tech smoking alternatives. Bloomberg reports the company wants to move away from cigarettes. CEO Andre Calantzopoulos says Philip Morris “can’t stop cold turkey.” The tobacco company is hoping to make major progress on that goal in 2017, when it plans to reveal a smoking alternative device that is post-vape, a new electronic way to get that sweet taste of nicotine.

Philip Morris calls this new smoking alternative ... iQOS. Bloomberg reports:

Flip open the white- or blue-colored plastic iQOS [pronounced, EYE-kose] case and you’ll find a heater that looks like a stubby pen. Into one end you insert what amount to munchkin-size cigarettes, called HEETS. The iQOS — which some have said is an acronym for “I quit ordinary smoking” — gently heats the tobacco without burning it, producing a warm, nicotine-laced aerosol.


So what do we call this new method of nicotine consumption? It’s not vaping, but Philip Morris has yet to coin the perfect term for it. Right now, it’s called HEETing. So you’d HEET your iQOS? Philip Morris has the opportunity to innovate our language here—think about how widespread the word “vaping” is—so let’s hope it doesn’t fuck it up. HEET sounds weird; it doesn’t fall gracefully from your lips like “vape” does.

So how does HEETing work? Bloomberg explains:

After HEETS comes TEEPS, a heat-not-burn product that looks pretty much like an old-fashioned cigarette. Here again, Philip Morris is relying on tobacco. But instead of lighting up the old way, users ignite a carbon tip that heats the tobacco.

The taste and nicotine intake of iQOS and TEEPS are closer to that of ordinary cigarettes than e-cigarettes, the company says, a stab at fixing smokers’ No. 1 complaint about early vapor products.

HEETS? TEEPS? What’s next, you ask? The company has also developed a device called STEEM, which “combines nicotine and a weak organic acid to produce nicotine salt, which is absorbed without vapor.” Why all the double Es? I don’t know!

Philip Morris has invested $3 billion into its post-cigarette technology, and iQOS has already been massively successful in Japan and parts of Europe. Still Calantzopoulos admits, “Decades of history are not going to change in one afternoon.”


As an analog smoker, I fear the post-vape world. The unknown is a black hole. In, I step.



Eve Peyser was the night editor at Gizmodo.

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I feel like all this vaping stuff is coming around about a decade too late. we JUST got done with making smoking socially unacceptable. I barely no anyone who smokes anymore. I wonder if it became popular back when smoking was still cool if it would have had a better chance of catching on.