Tobacco company Philip Morris International (PMI) has embarked on the expansion of IQOS, the brand behind its category-leading tobacco-heating system, to encompass a range of smoke-free products across a variety of platforms, including e-cigarettes and hybrid devices.
Among the priorities for its next growth phase, PMI has announced that it aims to reach over 50% of net revenues from smoke-free products by 2025. In the second quarter of 2021, net revenues from smoke-free products accounted for 29.0% of total adjusted net revenues. To date, Philip Morris has invested more than $8bn in the scientific research, development and commercialization of less harmful, smoke-free products.
‘It’s a well-known fact that cigarette smoking is harmful and can cause smoking-related diseases, but not everyone knows why that is,’ says, Rishaad Hajee, Head of Corporate Communications at Philip Morris. ‘The burning of tobacco creates smoke, which contains thousands of chemicals, around 100 of which have been identified by public health experts as causes or potential causes of smoking related diseases.’
Rishaad explains that the IQOS heated tobacco product is fundamentally different to cigarettes because it doesn’t burn tobacco. ‘The vast majority of harmful chemicals are contained in the smoke produced from burning tobacco and since IQOS doesn’t burn tobacco, it significantly lowers the levels of harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes.’
‘IQOS emits 95% less harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes which represents the average reductions in levels of a range of harmful chemicals (excluding nicotine) compared to the smoke of a reference cigarette,’ he adds, ‘this does not necessarily equal to a 95% reduction in risk. IQOS is not risk-free: it contains nicotine, which is addictive, but it is still a better choice than continued smoking.’
It’s about striving to create a better future. ‘The millions of men and women who would otherwise continue smoking deserve better options than cigarettes. Smoke-free alternatives are a pragmatic solution to tackle the global challenge of smoking by helping those who don’t quit to replace cigarettes with less harmful alternatives.’
PMI has made some significant strides in the past decade. ‘This is not only evidenced by the 14.7-million IQOS users who have switched completely and stopped smoking cigarettes, but also in terms of our research and development into other smoke-free alternatives,’ he says.
According to PMI’s Statement of Purpose, in 2019, ninety-eight percent of the company’s R&D budget was allocated to the research and development of smoke-free products. ‘We’re about to begin our most exciting chapter yet,’ Rishaad says. “IQOS is evolving from a product brand into a platform brand which will include a number of different smoke-free technologies to better meet the needs of men and women who would otherwise continue smoking.’
‘No single product would be able to successfully move the world’s approximately 1 billion smokers away from cigarettes. A portfolio comprising various technologies catering to different experiences, taste preferences and affordability levels is needed – and this is where we’re heading,’ he adds.