Back in 2017, former PMI CEO Andre Calantzopoulos had said that due to the popularity of their electronic devices in Japan and South Korea, the tobacco company should be able to phase out combustible cigarettes in these countries within a matter of a few years.
Fast forward four years, and the Marlboro maker has reiterated this goal and proposed a clearer deadline. “We want Japan to be the first market for the phase-out,” newly appointed CEO Jacek Olczak told the Nikkei in an interview earlier this year. The company “will realise a smoke-free society in Japan within 10 years,” he added.
The tobacco company has been betting on its IQOS, a smokeless alternative to combustible cigarettes that works by heating tobacco leaves known as Heets in Korea and HeatSticks in Japan. These refills which look like short cigarettes, must be inserted into the device and are heated it up once the iQOS device is switched on.
Why Japan is the ideal test ground for such products
Olczak was quoted by Nikkei Business, as saying that PMI also plans “to introduce devices using new technologies.” Tobacco companies have long considered Japan as the ideal test ground for HNB tobacco products, since regular e-cigarettes are banned by the country’s strict regulations. Additionally, this nation is one renowned for having a high regard for cleanliness and health, hence non-combustible cigarette alternatives are also sought after as they are in line with these values.
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