New heated tobacco kits will allow retailers to sell a smoke-free alternative unaffected by the ban on menthol cigarettes

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With two months left before the menthol cigarette ban comes into effect, a select group of retailers have been given exclusive access to the new IQOS Menthol Kit.

IQOS is neither a vape nor a cigarette. It is a new alternative to smoking that heats real tobacco rather than burning it. By using real tobacco instead of liquid, IQOS provides smokers with a real tobacco taste and satisfaction. The device also produces 95% less harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes1.

Over half (51%) of menthol smokers said they would consider switching to IQOS when menthol cigarettes are no longer available2, while 80% of smokers who try IQOS for seven days switch completely from cigarettes3.

Shahid Hussain of United Supermarket, said that while the ban was a concern, he was confident the kit would help protect sales as it meant he could easily offer his customers, who are unable to quit nicotine products completely, the closest alternative to menthol cigarettes.

Maria Sharma of Lexies said she would recommend that other retailers stock IQOS as it was a “huge opportunity”, while Imran Khan of Clifton Off Licence, said the kits would add “a lot of value” to his business.

Comprising of one IQOS 2.4+ device and two packs of menthol tobacco sticks known as ‘HEETS’, the IQOS Menthol Kit has a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) of £39 if customers register their device.

With the menthol cigarette ban an important moment in retailers’ calendars this year, Philip Morris Limited has ramped up the deployment of its field force to support retailers across the country. Reps are visiting tens of thousands of retailers between now and May to discuss IQOS and the introductory offers we have in place. They will also share more information on our buy-back scheme that will allow retailers to return their menthol cigarettes.

The menthol cigarette ban has the potential to have a serious impact on many retailers’ businesses – our new impact calculator shows that some could lose around £13,500 a year4 if they don’t act now. My hope is that retailers begin to study and stock up on a range of alternatives, like IQOS, to help them hold on to their menthol customers. The more retailers are informed, the more smokers will be informed and able to make the best choice for themselves.

Retailers can register to become IQOS stockists, use our impact calculator and receive the latest information on our buy-back scheme by visiting www.menthol-ban-retail.co.uk/.

1 Compared to the smoke of a reference cigarette (3R4F). It does not necessarily equal a 95% reduction in risk. Average of the reductions in the concentrations of a broad range of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals measured in the IQOS aerosol compared to those measured in the smoke of more than 1,600 cigarette brands in over 40 countries between 2008 and 2017. Aerosol and smoke collections performed under the Health Canada Intense machine-smoking regime. Reduction calculations exclude nicotine.

2 Based on quantitative research and reactions taken from 216 Legal Age Smokers (LAS) on the menthol ban in the UK. Fieldwork commissioned by Philip Morris Limited (PML) and conducted during October 2019.

3 Philip Morris Limited consumer insights data. Based on regular SMS conversion checks (opted-in consumers) during the period 10/11/2018 - 06/06/2019. https://uk.iqos.com/

4 The calculator utilises EPOS data from an independent study of 2,600 retailers (I-TG International Services Ltd study of 2,600 retailers 2019) which analyses local spending habits of menthol smokers. Average convenience basket spend per visit for menthol shoppers is £14.26 (this includes the nationwide average RRP of £9.61 for a pack of menthol cigarettes) and by using EPOS data, we estimate that retailers could lose around £13,500 a year based on a retailer selling 20 packs of menthol cigarettes a week.