Many smokers started as teenagers and probably found it particularly cool to puff secretly in the bushes. The trend today is towards e-cigarettes, not because they are cooler, but because they hardly stink, are less harmful and more socially or even pub-compatible.

The Weimar Republic with its restaurants and nightclubs, such as the Moka Feit, revived in the crime series “Babylon Berlin”, has shaped smoking culture in Germany like no other era. At that time, many a fine lady with a Charleston dress and bob head lit a cigarette in Lasziv, stylishly on a long-stemmed filter, of course. In the trenches, the smoldering stalk was long regarded as a food for the soul. It also lasted unimaginably long in debates in the Bundestag, until September 2007 to be precise. But when you look at the TV footage from the old days, they were really fogged out in black and white.

The fuming Bundestag is passé

The image of the cool smoker was also held up in the 20th century by stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, James Dean and Marlon Brando – and in many US series until the beginning of the new millennium. Until the strict laws for the protection of non-smokers in some US states made the puffing in federal authorities and gastronomy seem more and more unrealistic, as one FAZ article says. Too much was the impact on health, estimated by Tabaccoatlas.org to be 7.1 million deaths worldwide, 5.1 million among men and 884,000 among passive smokers in 2016, most of them in America and Asia.

If you could even smoke in the airplane until the end of the 1990s, this was suddenly over and you suddenly felt like a leper in the narrow, stuffy and smelly smoking cabins. Worldwide price increases, campaigns and bans, some of which were drastic, led to a drastic decline in the proportion of smokers in many industrial nations, even though it rose to 1.1 billion consumers worldwide due to strong growth in developing countries.

Source: iStock/mustafagull

Pub ban show effect, trend goes to the E-cigarette

What nobody believed at first: Massive tax increases and the first pub bans in Bavaria, which led to spontaneous fraternization among smokers in the freezing cold at the beginning of 2007, have actually had an effect. In Germany, the proportion of men fell from around 43 to 28 percent between 1995 and 2015, and the proportion of women from 29 to just over 23 percent. Around 17 percent of Germans puff only daily, eight percent occasionally. That emerges from numbers of the Federal center for health clearing-up (BZgA) and smokfrei-info.de.

Meanwhile, the trend is towards e-cigarettes or tobacco heaters, especially since in North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, they are quite suitable for pubs depending on the type and do not necessarily have to be left out. According to heise.de, there were only 0.3 million consumers in Germany in 2010, and 3.5 million in 2016. Studies in the USA and the United Kingdom confirm that the electronic glow stalk is 95 percent less harmful to health. Critics promptly worried that this could lure former non-smokers. In Germany, however, the proportion is very low at 1.0 percent, according to Heise. The figures come from Statista, the Verband des Zigarettenhandels (VdeH) and the Deutsche Hauptstelle für Suchtfragen (DHS).

Tobacco heaters – an alternative to (e-)cigarettes?

Tobacco heaters are a relatively recent response by large tobacco companies to the changing nature of smoking. Many models have been developed over the years and have only been available on the market for a short time. For example, only the “IQOS” model by Philip Morris has made it to Germany so far.


While in most e-cigarettes the tobacco is heated up to 800 degrees Celsius like in real cigarettes, in tobacco heaters like the IQOS tobacco substances are only heated up to 250 to 350 degrees Celsius and not burned. This does not relieve the patient of the possible dependence on nicotine, but it reduces the risk of cancer significantly, because no carbon monoxide, arsenic or prussic acid are produced. Like all means of nicotine transport, IQOS is not really healthy. However, it is less harmful and, with the third generation IQOS 3, more stylish than the normal smoker.

Digital smoking therefore seems to be worthwhile. With the IQOS, Philip Morris is now launching three generations of his electric cigarette lighter on the market – at a cost of 119 euros. Of course, there is a choice of different colours for the models. And so the digital smoker feels almost like buying an Apple product – everything is clean, smart and elegant. Is that the “new smoking”?


IQOS is filled with “Heets” baptized tobacco sleeves consisting of compressed tobacco and a patented polymer filter. Various tobacco flavours are available and are based on the Marlboro selection. The heets are also in no way inferior to real cigarettes in terms of price. A pack costs 6 euros, a carton with 200 heets is 60 euros.

Apart from the release from 18 was thus created an additional entry barrier to prevent children and adolescents from the price. Because IQOS costs a lot of money. Where the normal smoker can already start with a piece of paper and a pack of tobacco, the “Heeter” first needs a complete set of equipment – similar to what pipe followers know.

Smoking 2.0 – innovations come, consumption stays

IQOS, e-cigarette and Co. have somewhat shaken up the established smoking market. And that’s a good thing, both for the industry and for the consumer. The industry, for example, is under increasing pressure from many governments – Great Britain, New Zealand or Australia have been advocates of a no smoking policy for years, and prices for a box of tobacco are regularly rising to astronomical heights. Here an e-cigarette, a vaporizer or even a tobacco heater is just right to offer consumers a new market.


But smokers also have their advantages. While smoking serves and assigns different clichés, target groups and even income classes, the electronic counterparts provide a breath of fresh air on the market. Because if we are honest, smoking still has a lot to do with lifestyle in many ways – think of the testimonials Bogart and Brando or the “hipster” who still likes to turn his American spirit by hand today, without a filter, of course.

Smoking is and remains a vice and is “deadly” by international definition. This can also be clearly seen on the IQOS packs with the heets. But 95 percent less damage to health is an argument, for smokers mind you, not for those who have quit or want to quit. Cool is different today.

“More doctors smoke Camel than any other Cigarette” was a Camel advertisement from the middle of the 20th century. Today it could read “the enjoyable smoker pays attention to his fellow men and smokes electronically”. Smoking, like every few decades, changes and reinvents itself. With IQOS and Co. in keeping with the times, this time it is becoming digital. And remains as harmful as ever.

Quelle: Titelbild: iStock/licsiren