My IQOS Experience

One thing I absolutely love about e-cigarettes is that the War On Smoking has resulted in the invention of a whole new way of smoking.

It’s what happens in wars. They always result in the invention of brand new weapons. And e-cigarettes are to the War On Smoking as tanks were to WW1.

They’re still in their infancy. But one day they’ll be everywhere.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed that Leggie had bought an iQos heat-not-burn device. He wrote a very positive review of it here, complete with photos. “I really like this thing,” he wrote.

So, not for the first time, I followed in Leggie’s footsteps, and ordered one for myself, taking advantage of the same offer (I think the price had been slashed in half, maybe more).

It came a week or more ago, but after my first failed attempt to get it working, I left the thing alone. That was largely because I was too busy with other things. And maybe because we were experiencing a mini ice age here in the UK.

The reason I had such difficulty with it was that a) the box is very difficult to open, and b) the instructions are terrible, and c) there are too many LEDs.

The iQos device itself is very slick, but the box and the instructions are awful.

The box is made of strong, shiny, white cardboard, and consists of one open-ended box that slides into another open-ended box, with a clearance of about 1/1000th of an inch (or cm) between the two. There are no finger grips to be allow the inner box to be got hold of. The only way I could get the thing open was to hold the outer box and shake it vigorously until the inner box had slid down out enough for me to get a finger purchase on it. I didn’t think it did the contents of the box much good to be shaken vigorously.

And it doesn’t get any easier the second time you do it. I made the mistake of putting everything back into the box, and sliding the cardboard boxes together. The next time I opened it, I ended up shaking it vigorously again to get them apart.

And then the instructions. The instructions looked slick (so did the box), but I found them almost incomprehensible. When I’d finally got the thing to charge up in its fancy holder, I didn’t know when it was fully charged. The holder has lots of LEDs on it, which light up and flash, and sometimes change colour. The holder has also got a mind of its own, and turns itself off after a while.

Anyway, the net result was that when I tried it the first time, it wasn’t fully charged. And also, I had now encountered another problem: I didn’t know which end of the iQos to put in my mouth.

You’d think that the least they could do would have been to have included a little picture of someone smoking the thing, but nope, they didn’t even do that.

And of course I guessed wrong which end to put in my mouth. And all I ended getting was one single puff out of it.

And then, when I tried pulling the mini-cigarettes (“HEETs”) which need to be impaled on a spike inside the iQos, the mini-cigarette came out, but left the tobacco impaled on the spike.

It then took me about 20 minutes to get the tobacco off the spike, and clean the thing up.

I then put it back in its holder, and put it back on charge. Leggie said his had charged up in 20 minutes. Mine took about an hour and half.

And by then I’d lost interest in the thing, what with the box, the instructions, all the flashing LEDs, and the tobacco impaled on the spike.

And so it was another 10 days or so before I finally got round to giving it another try.

This time things went much more smoothly. The iQos had remained almost fully charged since my last attempt, and it didn’t take long to become fully charged. And I slid another HEET mini-cigarette onto the spike, and held down the button on the iQos to start it first flashing, and then turning solid green, which indicated that it was ready to smoke.

This time, instead of smoking it like it was a cigarette in a holder (i.e. from the far end away from the cigarette, I smoked it with the filter in my mouth.

But then I hit another problem: I had just 6 minutes to smoke the thing. I usually take about 15 minutes to smoke a roll-up, so I had to smoke the thing 3 times more quickly than usual.

I suppose that wouldn’t bother people who smoke manufactured ready-rolled cigarettes, because in my experience they tend to burn much quicker than roll-ups. Put a roll-up in an ashtray, and it’ll go out in about 10 seconds. Put a ready-rolled cigarette in an ashtray, and it’ll just carry on burning. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they only burn for 6 minutes.

Aside from the fact that I was smoking it 3 times faster than I usually smoke (and coughing a lot as a result) I found it a surprisingly good smoke. Leggie had order menthol HEETs, but I went for the full strength tobacco amber HEETs. And the result was something that was actually stronger than my roll-ups. It was a real smoke, which is more than I can say of any vaping device I’ve ever tried.

And that probably shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, because you actually are smoking a little cigarette, made of real tobacco, which isn’t burning, but is only being heated. They don’t say what temperature they use in the spike they use to heat the tobacco with, but I suppose it’s not as high as the temperatures inside a lit cigarette coal.

I was also surprised that it actually produced smoke. There wasn’t much of it. And it only appeared when you pulled on it. Otherwise there was no smoke.Certainly there was nothing like the amount of continuous smoke you get off any lit cigarette.

Anyway, I’ve only smoked one HEET cigarette so far. And then, because I could see unburned (or unheated) tobacco in the end of the thing, I tried smoking it a second time. And that was a rather unpleasant experience, like smoking a cigarette butt.

My verdict? Well, if Leggie might have given his about 8 out 10, I give mine about 3 out 10. I suppose that I simply got a bit too narked with the box, the instructions, and all the flashing LEDs. About the only good thing about it, as far as I was concerned, was that when I finally got it working, it was a surprisingly good smoke. The only thing that really spoiled it was that it only lasted 6 minutes. But that might not bother other people at all. Perhaps because most of them are used to smoking cigarettes hurriedly these days, and I’m not.

Also, I think that though they’ve made it look very slick, it could do with a few more iterations of the design process. First they should throw away the damn box, and design one that’s easy to open. And that shouldn’t be too difficult. Second they should throw away the user manual, and re-write it from scratch, with bigger photos in it, and – above all – a photo showing how to smoke the thing. Third, do there really need to be 7 or 8 LEDs, each with three colours? Surely just one LED should be needed to tell you when something has charged? And fourth, maybe think about a king size HEET that’ll last 12 or 15 minutes. Because not all of us want to smoke as fast as we possibly can.

Anyway, now that I’ve got it working, I’ll bring it into the Smoky Drinky Bar on Friday night, and maybe also on Saturday night, and demonstrate its use (complete with coughing, because I’m having to smoke too fast).

Oh, and before I forget, I’ve been getting phone calls from iQos more or less every day for the past 2 weeks. I’ve never actually managed to answer the phone myself, but the voice messages they leave tell me that they’re offering to “help” me to get it working. But I hadn’t actually asked for any help! So I can only suppose that lots of people have had about as much difficulty getting the thing working as I have. So much so that now they automatically phone buyers up to offer the help they know they’ll need. That’s another reason for improving the box/manual/LEDs. How often does anyone who’s bought, say, an electric toaster, ever get phone calls offering to show them how to work it? Never.

I’m sure they’ll get it right in the end. It’s an evolutionary process. Just like it was with tanks in WW1.

 

About Frank Davis

smoker
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30 Responses to My IQOS Experience

  1. Timothy Goodacre says:

    Only real tobacco for me Frank, preferably Turkish !

  2. smokingscot says:

    Philip Morris can easily make special offers and call on the government to hike tobacco taxes exponentially. To do this they have to maximise their current market leader position and get people to adopt their hardware.

    Bit like the vcr wars IMO.

    Anyway this article gives their margin on Marlboro. £2.50.

    And iqos. £4.06.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/03/tax-us-worlds-biggest-cigarette-maker-tells-philip-hammond/#comments

    • Tony says:

      Philip Morris were also a signatory to the corrupt, smoker bashing, MSA. Which is another good reason for having nothing to do with any of their products.

  3. Vlad says:

    I’m very surprised Frank that you gave money to those bastards at PMI…might as well have handed Mike Bloomberg a £50 note…both of them are filthy rich and hate/try to make smokers’ life difficult.

    As to the ‘real tobacco’ in the HEETS, it’s actually 100% recon (aka garbage/junk) tobacco (it says so in the documents submitted to the FDA).

    • Frank Davis says:

      I didn’t “give” money. I bought a product.

      Wouldn’t be surprised if it was recon tobacco.

    • RdM says:

      I don’t think that the mere fact of “reconsituted tobacco” (a process) existing has any necessary correlation with the quality of the tobacco that was, uh, reconstituted…

      What they do is blend selected tobaccos to get the flavour they want, then grind them to a fine powder. This is then mixed with water and some other ingredients – vegetable glycerine to keep it moist and generate the vapour; natural cellulose fibres to bind it; and guar (a natural gum) to hold the whole lot together.

      This liquid mixture is sprayed onto a conveyor belt, run through a dryer then peeled off in thin sheets. The brown stuff in the end of a Heet is those sheets, rolled up like tobacco leaves in a cigar. When you load a Heet into your iQOS a steel blade in the device cuts into the roll, and when the blade heats up it creates the vapour for you to inhale. That vapour is mostly VG, loaded with aromatic flavours from the tobacco – which is why iQOS can replicate the flavour of a cigarette in a way that e-cigs can never quite manage.</blockquote

      from
      https://heatnotburn.co.uk/iqos-update-inside-heet/

      I think that WTA and NET maybe combined will be the next best vaping things.

      Oh, look …

      http://bfy.tw/HOO9

    • RdM says:

      I don’t think that the mere fact of “reconsituted tobacco” (a process) existing has any necessary correlation with the quality of the tobacco that was, uh, reconstituted…

      What they do is blend selected tobaccos to get the flavour they want, then grind them to a fine powder. This is then mixed with water and some other ingredients – vegetable glycerine to keep it moist and generate the vapour; natural cellulose fibres to bind it; and guar (a natural gum) to hold the whole lot together.

      This liquid mixture is sprayed onto a conveyor belt, run through a dryer then peeled off in thin sheets. The brown stuff in the end of a Heet is those sheets, rolled up like tobacco leaves in a cigar. When you load a Heet into your iQOS a steel blade in the device cuts into the roll, and when the blade heats up it creates the vapour for you to inhale. That vapour is mostly VG, loaded with aromatic flavours from the tobacco – which is why iQOS can replicate the flavour of a cigarette in a way that e-cigs can never quite manage.

      from
      https://heatnotburn.co.uk/iqos-update-inside-heet/

      I think that WTA and NET maybe combined will be the next best vaping things.

  4. legiron says:

    The instructions did take a bit of deciphering. It’s not intuitive to use it like a reverse cigarette holder, but that’s how it’s done.
    I also tried re-using one of the microfags, with the same result.

    The biggest issue for me is that it’s no cheaper than smoking – in fact, startup prices are steep! Then the microfags cost £7 a pack, not much cheaper than a pack of actual cigarettes.

    Cost is a big reason for many smokers to try alternatives, The iQos doesn’t help with that.

    I’ve also bought some amber ones. They’re good, and I still use it, but haven’t ditched the real baccy yet.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I’ve not ditched the real tobacco either. I never had any intention of ever doing so. I’m just interested in keeping up with new technology.

      • legiron says:

        I just can’t resist gadgets :)

        This, to me, is a better one than the vaping Electrofags. Pity they made the price so close to real ones though – they’d clean up if they were a lot cheaper.

        As for charging, I read someone who said their unit came half charged so they could start right away. Mine didn’t, I had to charge it first but the first charge was quick. The second charge took longer.

        It might depend on how much residual battery power is in the thing when it arrives.

    • Vlad says:

      That just goes to show how greedy those bastards at PMI are….not only do they use half or even less the tobacco on a HEET (250mg) compared to a cigarette (500-600mg), but being 100% recon as opposed to perhaps 30% recon in a cigarette, they save money on that end too.

      PMI is selling third rate hot-dogs for the price of a NY steak.

      • legiron says:

        The thing is, if they made it cheaper they’d sell a hell of a lot more. Someone isn’t thinking too hard there…

        • alex says:

          on a same note, if they’d sell it for cheaper they would sell it a lot more and they’d make more money…right ? I think they just didn’t believe too many people would try it or were too greedy to make it cheaper because if it’s better than tobacco it shouldn’t be cheaper..in their minds

  5. Timothy Goodacre says:

    Think i’ll stick to the real thing and the delightful products of Gawith Hoggarth !

  6. beobrigitte says:

    Anyway, now that I’ve got it working, I’ll bring it into the Smoky Drinky Bar on Friday night, and maybe also on Saturday night, and demonstrate its use (complete with coughing, because I’m having to smoke too fast).
    Looking forward to the demonstration!

    I don’t know…. For a starter kit at a discount I’d have to fork out (at a discount!) £121. on top of it, 20 heets (health pornography on it is free?) come to £7.50, so the whole – smokeless – thing isn’t really a cheap option. Also, I doubt that you could use it on an airplane. IQos users will be exiled to the outdoors along with the smokers and vapers!


    Can he please pick up Philip Morris and the anti-smoking pestilence on his way?

  7. waltc says:

    Frank, I sent you another email with some council specs that you asked for at the end of yesterday.

  8. Clicky says:

  9. Pingback: Peter Koo Must Hang | Frank Davis

  10. Paul Barnes says:

    I was wondering when (if) you were going to give it a try Frank!

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  12. Check out this store for iqos skin and case http://www.iqosskincase.com . It has some cool and unique stuff there.

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