While the sale of traditional cigarettes declines, Philip Morris International (PMI) is looking to ecigarettes and specifically its ‘heat not burn’ smokeless product IQOS as the future of its business.

As global governments continue to make smoking regulations ever tougher the sales of traditional cigarettes have changed with cigarettes as a proportion of tobacco sales dropping to 89.8% – the first time it’s dropped below 90% in 10 years.

PMI has recently teamed up with Altria Group to get the IQOS product approved by the FDA in the US, to then begin marketing the product as a less risky alternative to smoking.

If IQOS wins FDA approval Altria will sell the product in the US, under a licensing agreement with PMI, which will receive royalties.

Philip Morris is also sure that its IQOS device will be more popular than ecigarettes.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal PMI CEO André Calantzopoulos said that ecigarettes don’t provide the same satisfaction as smoking and is betting on his IQOS device as the way forward.

“The problem we had with electronic cigarettes since the beginning of development was the satisfaction of the smoker,” he said. “Because the taste is dramatically different and, at the initial stages, the nicotine pharmacokinetics were very slow. You could not get the satisfaction. It’s not so easy to crack this code.

“The taste satisfaction is very important. The closest you are to this, the more chances you have to switch people. It’s very nice to have a zero-risk product, but if nobody uses it, you don’t have any reduction in public health risk.”

Designing A Smoke Free Future

PMI’s website also now reflect this line of thinking.  They’re planning a future without cigarettes, they’re future-proofing:

“We will be far more than a leading cigarette company. We’re building PMI’s future on smoke-free products that are a much better choice than cigarette smoking.

“Indeed, our vision – for all of us at PMI – is that these products will one day replace cigarettes.

“Society expects us to act responsibly. And we are doing just that by designing a smoke-free future.”