As smoking rates continue to decline throughout much of the developed world, big tobacco companies have long been searching for a viable cigarette alternative to bolster sales in a market where vapor products have already carved out a healthy portion.
While big tobacco companies have acquired ownership over fledging vapor product companies like blu e-cigs, and have gone on to release products like the MarkTen and VUSE to compete in the already saturated vape market, these devices have had a hard time catching on with consumers.
To that end, tobacco giant Philip Morris International Inc. has tried for something new that could appeal more to the adult smoker, a concerted effort it hopes will be realized in its iQOS device.
The iQOS is a rechargeable electronic device that heats tubes of tobacco the company has dubbed “HeatSticks”, into an inhalable vapor. The HeatSticks bear a likeness to traditional tobacco cigarettes, and are part of a “heat not burn technology” that’s already been rolled out in test markets that include Italy, Japan and Switzerland.
The newest market that may see a release of the iQOS device is the U.S., with a product launch stateside that could happen as early as 2017, pending market approval by the Food and Drug Administrations (FDA).
For more on this story be sure to check out the Bloomberg Tech article here.