Heat-not-burn devices are rapidly rising in popularity in Japan where they were first introduced and according to one study’s findings, they could overshadow electronic cigarettes in popularity in the years to come.
The study, which was authored by Dr. John Ayers with San Diego State University and computer science professor Mark Dredze of Johns Hopkins University, found that when heat-not-burn devices were first introduced in Japan, they rose in popularity more quickly than e-cigarettes did when they were first introduced in the country, which leads them to believe that they could overtake e-cigs in popularity. If this is true in Japan, it could be true elsewhere as well, or at least that’s the line of thought that could very well rattle the cages of some vape industry investors. In the words of the study’s authors, their findings suggest that these new smokeless alternatives “may even eclipse e-cigarettes” in terms of popularity as they’re introduced into new markets.
“This suggests that as heat-not-burn tobacco is introduced in new markets, its popularity may even eclipse e-cigarettes.”
So how fast have they risen in popularity? According to the researchers, who analyzed data from Google Trends that pertain to search engine queries, virtually nobody was searching for them two years ago. But now, to quote study coauthor Professor Dredze, there are now “between 5.9 and 7.5 million each month.”
“Two years ago, there were essentially no queries in Japan for heat-not-burn tobacco, but now there are between 5.9 and 7.5 million each month.”
With how quickly e-cigarettes and personal vaporizers in general rose in popularity in recent years, taking regulators completely off guard, there are those who are calling for research into the safety of heat-not-burn devices to be conducted now so that public health professionals, regulators, and the public at large are not once again blindsided in a scenario in which these new devices surge in popularity reminiscent of the e-cigarette’s rise to international stardom.
In the meantime, there are those who believe that they should be regulated the same as other tobacco products, just to be on the safe side. What do you think? You can share your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below.