The environment surrounding smokers is harsh, such as the revised Health Promotion Law in April 2020, the reduction of smoking areas due to the Corona disaster, and the tax increase in October 2021.
Heat-not-burn tobacco continues to grow steadily. One of the products that has pioneered the market as a pioneer of heat-not-burn tobacco in Japan is “IQOS” by Philip Morris Japan (PMJ).
In August 2021, PMJ released the latest model “IQOS ILUMA” series (top model “IQOS ILUMA PRIME” and standard model “IQOS ILUMA”. It has a 37.1% share of the Japanese tobacco market (as of the end of 2020). We asked Mr. Yasushi Hasegawa, who has been involved in PR since the early days of IQOS’s launch, about its efforts and the appeal of its products.
IQOS users and sales countries are steadily increasing
In 2014, PMJ released the first “IQOS” in advance in Nagoya and Milan. Together with the IQOS tobacco stick “Marlboro Heat Stick,” the sales area was expanded to 12 prefectures in 2015, and sales began nationwide in 2016.
Then, in 2018, the “IQOS 3”, which has undergone a major redesign, will be released, and in 2019, the model “IQOS 3 DUO”, which can be used continuously, will be released. IQOS is currently deployed in 70 countries.
“We made model changes about every one to two years, and during that time we released limited edition and limited models. Regulations on heat-not-burn tobacco and e-cigarettes differ from country to country, but based on the rules of each country and the needs of our customers. However, we are proceeding with the development, and the number of sales countries is steadily increasing. “(Mr. Hasegawa, same below)
Promoting the transition to heat-not-burn tobacco
In the Japanese tobacco market, the heat-not-burn tobacco category accounts for “29% as of the first half of 2021” (according to PMJ research), and the number of IQOS users worldwide is 20.4 million (January to 9 in the third quarter of 2021). In January), the number of people increased by 4 million from 16.4 million in the third quarter of 2020 a year ago.
It seems that the number of users and the share are increasing.
“For adult smokers who are willing to continue smoking, we are pushing for a shift to heat-not-burn tobacco as a product that has the potential to reduce the risk of smoking,” says Hasegawa.