BACKGROUND: One of the most widely available heated tobacco products is IQOS by Philip Morris International. However, there is a lack of independent research exploring IQOS initiation and subsequent use among smokers and ex-smokers.
AIMS: To (1) explore the reasons why smokers and ex-smokers use and continue/discontinue IQOS and (2) consider implications for future research and policy.
PARTICIPANTS: Adult (18+) current (n=22) and ex-users (n=8) of IQOS who either currently smoked or quit smoking in the last 2 years.
METHODS: Qualitative interview study in London, UK.
RESULTS: Six main factors influenced initiation and use of IQOS: (1) Health-wanting to reduce/quit smoking and perceptions of reduced harm (while understanding IQOS was not risk-free). Branded packaging, absence of pictorial warnings and physical health improvements conveyed reduced harm. (2) Financial-including high start-up costs, but cheaper ongoing costs than smoking. (3) Physical-mixed views on enjoyment and satisfaction. Sensory experiences influenced use including discreetness, cleanliness, reduced smell and tactile similarities relative to combustible cigarettes. (4) Practical-issues of accessibility, shortcomings with maintenance/operation limited ongoing use, whereas use in smoke-free places increased use. (5) Psychological-similarities in rituals and routines, although new practices developed to charge and clean; some liked trailblazing new technology. (6) Social-improved social interactions from using IQOS instead of smoking, but with more limited shared social experiences for some.
CONCLUSION: For some, IQOS facilitated smoking substitution. Factors such as packaging, labelling, risk communication, price and smoke-free policies appear to influence initiation and use.
|Publication status||Published - 15 Jan 2020|