Philip Morris International (PMI), the owner of Marlboro cigarettes and one of the world’s biggest tobacco companies, is planning to open hundreds of iQOS shops in Britain, as part of its alleged efforts to switch from selling cigarettes to selling safer alternatives.

The iQOS device is marketed as a less harmful alternative to cigarette smoking. The HnB smokeless alternative to combustible cigarettes and works by heating tobacco leaves known as Heets or HeatSticks. These refills which look like short cigarettes, must be inserted into the device and are heated up once it is switched on.

“This new product has been developed following £4bn of investment and a decade of research. I believe the impact of IQOS could accelerate Manchester into becoming a smoke-free city.”

Currently, PMI has four stores in London and is planning to open four more in Bristol. Meanwhile, two shops have been opened in Manchester, one in St Ann’s Square and one in Princess Street, and a specialist local team has been recruited to help the city’s 360,000 smokers understand how best to switch from cigarettes to the safer alternatives.

Peter Nixon, Managing Director of PMI, believes that IQOS will help the 1 in 6 people who smoke in Manchester make the switch. “I am confident that IQOS will be a game changer for smokers in Manchester with heated tobacco technology offering a better alternative to cigarettes. This new product has been developed following £4bn of investment and a decade of research. I believe the impact of IQOS could accelerate Manchester into becoming a smoke-free city.”

In Japan iQOS Has Led to a Decrease in Cigarette Sales

The study titled, “Effect of IQOS introduction on cigarette sales: evidence of decline and replacement,” aimed to determine whether the introduction of IQOS affected cigarette sales in a large economy. The researchers used 2014 to 2018 monthly retailer panel data from Japan, in order to examine whether different dates of IQOS introduction across Japan’s regions, were reflected in the patterns of cigarette sales in those same regions.

The results indicated that indeed cigarette sales began to decline substantially at the time iQOS was introduced in each of 11 Japanese regions. However, added the researchers, the net population health impact, “cannot be assessed without resolving several key uncertainties related to the direct harms of IQOS and the precise patterns of both smoking and IQOS use.”

Read Further: Business Manchester

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