Philip Morris has introduced heated tobacco systems to the UK with the opening of an IQOS store in Wardour Street, central London.
IQOS is an electronic device that heats tobacco without burning, generating a nicotine-containing vapour that yields less smell and on average less than 10% of the levels of harmful constituents found in cigarette smoke.
The system is currently available in 10 countries around the world and Philip Morris International plans to expand to cities in 20 countries by the end of 2016 and up to 35 in 2017. More than one million cigarette smokers have already switched to IQOS since its initial pilot launch in Nagoya, Japan and Milan, Italy in 2014, according to PMI.
The cost of an IQOS device for registered users will be £45; a single pack of 20 tobacco sticks, branded Heets, will cost £8 (or £7 in a multi-pack format). Heets come in three different variants – amber, yellow and turquoise. PM UK will be developing plans to distribute the product wider in 2017 and eventually nationwide.
Commenting on the UK launch, Philip Morris UK and Ireland managing director Martin Inkster said: “The UK launch of IQOS marks a major milestone towards achieving our objective, in the UK and globally, to replace cigarettes with non-combustible alternatives to the benefit of adult smokers, our company and wider society. It is symbolic that we are opening our first IQOS store in central London, just around the corner from where Mr Philip Morris opened his first tobacco shop in 1847.
“Our goal is to convert existing adult legal age smokers to these products and we have every intention of using today’s highly efficient distribution and retail networks once a meaningful consumer demand exists.”