Philip Morris International (PMI) unveiled two new versions of its smokeless tobacco device IQOS in Japan on Tuesday in an effort to provide ‘better choices” to people who smoke.
IQOS heats tobacco instead of burning it, generating a nicotine-containing vapor which has reduced levels of harmful chemicals compared to cigarette smoke, according to PMI. The new versions feature improved design and user experience based on consumer feedback.
The company plans to further infiltrate the Japanese market with a line of less expensive heatsticks for inside the devices. The company also released cheaper versions of IQOS products in Japan, called HEETS, in a bid to to grow sales and stay competitive.
“Our dream was to create a better alternative for smokers, and IQOS has made this dream a reality; it’s a revolution for the 1.1 billion people who smoke,” said André Calantzopoulos, PMI’s chief executive officer.
The new products will be available in more than 40 markets around the world including Japan and New Zealand. Regular e-cigarettes are banned in Japan so the country has become the main market for “heat not burn” (HNB) products, according to Reuters.
Japan accounts for about 85 per cent of the $6.3 billion HNB market, according to Euromonitor. Philip Morris says IQOS has a 15.5 per cent share in Japan’s overall tobacco market, including conventional cigarettes, but market share has stabilized.
The company came under fire this week in the UK for its anti-smoking ad campaign, “Hold My Light”. Many have criticised the company saying its hypocritical given the huge profits the company makes from smokers.