Move over, e-cigarette: Here comes the new not-really-smoking thingamajig. We'd give you a name for it, but it's not quite ready yet. Tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PM) has just laid claim to the new technology, which delivers nicotine in aerosol form. The spray will provide a nicotine "hit" faster than current alternatives, its inventor, Jed Rose, director of Duke University's Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research, told the Associated Press. However, it's expected that it will take three to five years to develop the technology into an actual retail product. No word on what Philip Morris paid for the rights.
Rose said in the AP article that users of the product won't be inhaling the toxins associated with cigarette smoke, and that the new product would thus reduce the death and disease rates of tobacco users. Rose has a pretty good pedigree. He was an integral player in the study of nicotine patches in the 1980s before they were introduced to the tobacco-craving public.
One wonders what will become of the e-cigarette, or electronic cigarette, currently a celebrity favorite that features steam flowing through a battery-powered stick that is inhaled like a cigarette. Who can forget Katherine Heigl puffing away on one on Letterman? Other reported devotees are Leonardo DiCaprio, Nikki Reed and Kevin Federline.
Priced between $50 and $145 for a starter kit, e-cigs have been advertised as healthier and stink-free, but their role as a habit-kicking vehicle has been disputed. And there's this buzz-kill: The FDA has found carcinogens and an antifreeze element in samples.
Still, the e-cigarette industry is inhaling a reported $100 million a year in profits domestically while quitting-aid revenues worldwide are skyrocketing. Sales are expected to climb from $3.5 billion in 2008 to $7.3 billion in 2024, according to figures released by the Annual Smoking Cessation.
What's more pressing is the motivation of the people behind those numbers: Tobacco use is expected to kill 500 million of the planet's current population, according to the World Health Organization.
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