PMI country manager for TT and the Caribbean, Sheldon Wood, said the process has already started and will be finalized once the regulations, scientific approvals and other operating documents are in place. “PMI is looking to move into a smoke-free future. Combustible or traditional cigarettes, as we know it…have harmful effects due to the combustion of tobacco. When the tobacco heats to a certain temperature it combusts and causes a lot of the complications that you hear associated with smoking,” he said as quoted by NewsDay.
“Through our extensive research and science, that has been substantiated by data and all these findings, we are essentially looking to transform ourselves into a company that would sell reduced-risk products. These are products where the tobacco does not combust, so not having that combustion will result in not having expulsion of harmful toxins that cause complications associated with regular combustible tobacco,” added Wood.
IQOS banned in the US
The expansion comes at the heels of a ban on the company’s heated tobacco brand, IQOS in the US. In May 2020, the company’s competitor British American Tobacco (BAT) sued PMI in the United States and Germany, alleging that the tobacco heating technology used in PMI’s HnB device IQOS, had infringed its patents.
In the US, BAT had filed two separate patent infringement claims against PMI, one via the ITC and another one in the Virginia federal court. Both sought compensation for the damages caused, and an injunction on importing the product.
As a result in September 2021, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), ruled that PMI and Altria must stop all sales and imports of their IQOS device in the US. The ban has now officially gone into effect.
PMI’s success in Japan
Meanwhile, in March 2021 the brand’s latest electronic device, IQOS VEEV, was launched in New Zealand in 3Q2020, and an announcement had revealed that it would be rolled out in other markets throughout the year. The company’s new CEO Jack Olczak, pointed out that one of the company’s main successful markets is Japan, where the overall heated tobacco category continues to grow. He revealed that the large majority of this growth is driven by IQOS, which makes up almost 26% of its total tobacco market. In fact the device was launched in Japan the following August.