Phillip Morris International is Putting a Lot Behind the Future of Smokeless Tobacco

Back in February the company announced a definite shift towards a smokeless future with a push behind it’s IQOS smokeless devices which heat a stick of tobacco to 300 degrees rather than burn them in the traditional way cigarettes do.

PMI plans to make IQOS available in key cities in over 30 countries by the end of 2017 and will be producing the tobacco sticks in mass volume.

And PMI’s full report for 2016 showed a huge rise in shipments compared to the previous year – 7.4 billion compared to 396 million.

Last week the tobacco giant announced further investment in the smokeless market to the tune of $323m with the purchase of a former cigarette factory in Greece.

The plant in Aspropyrgos will be run by PMI affiliate Papastratos and will create 400 new jobs. The factory is expected to produce 20 billion Heatsticks a year, starting in January 2018.

The Aspropyrgos factory will be the third PMI facility dedicated to the production of iQOS products. There is currently a specially built facility in Crespellano, Italy and a smaller Industrial Development Centre in Neuchatel, Switzerland.

This announcement comes as the Office for National Statistics announces that the number of smokers in the UK has hit an all-time low since records began in 1974, while UK vapers are increasing at a rate faster than anywhere else in Europe.

Furthermore, research carried out by Ernst and Young earlier this year, claims that every four minutes one person in the UK is making the switch to ecigarettes, while recent figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that in 2015 17.2% of adults smoked.  The rate was 20.1% in 2010.

British vapers currently make up about 4.2% of the population, with just under 71% of people using them every day. In France, the country with the second highest levels of vaping, the percentage of the population that are vapers is around 3%.