On 30th April 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration authorized the sale and marketing of IQOS in the US. It becomes the first of its kind to sell heated tobacco products to the American population.
With news of vaping harming its users, it was unclear whether IQOS- a smoke-free product would appeal to the new market. Philip Morris International, the manufacture of IQOS, took a wait and see approach.
This strategy did pay off. A two-year wait for approval was worth it. With all the negative hype on how vaping additives were causing lung inflammation. IQOS seemed to have floated over.
Since its inception and launching, IQOS was a big turnaround for Philip Morris International (PMI). More attention was shifted to the future of IQOS. The Integration of the “tobacco heating system” in IQOS products was the gamechanger. IQOS was finally reinventing the mother company.
For the next two years, PMI is expecting the sales of IQOS to meet the revenue and profit growth projections. The drop in global sales of cigarettes is a drawback. The reason IQOS products are gaining momentum and popularity among smokers is, they have health benefits.
In this article, we will look at the story behind IQOS.
From Cigarettes To IQOS
For years people have been getting their nicotine dose from cigarette smoking. Inhaling nicotine, in a smoke-free manner, has always been a dream for many. From as early as 2000, people have been trying to infuse technology in tobacco smoking. The first product towards this dream was an e-cigarette. This product had its up and dowliqn.
Eventually, the e-cigarette was replaced by vaping. Electronic devices used to vaporize nicotine and other contents. For a while, nicotine users thought this was the future of delivering tobacco. It was not the case, soon vaping started to make people sick. The introduction of additives in nicotine concentrates made people sick.
The reputation of inhaling nicotine using electronic devices was on the line. PMI had to learn from all these mistakes. The lessons gained were used to perfect IQOS.
IQOS – I Quit Original Smoking
The launch of IQOS products was on 23rd October 2018. The future of smoking nicotine in a smoke-free is IQOS next-generation.
IQOS is the gift of decades-long research and millions of dollars in research and development. Since its inception, over 10 million users have made a permanent switch to IQOS.
Cigarette burns at 600o C to emit nicotine. Smoke from a cigarette contains nicotine and toxins, which cause cancer.
IQOS address this matter. It emits nicotine with fewer toxins. The tobacco heating system used in IQOS heats tobacco to 350o C. At this temperature, tobacco emits nicotine vapour without combustion. At 350o C, the temperatures are relatively low. The amounts of toxins emitted are significantly small.
The tobacco heating system ensures no fire, smoke, and ash. Although it delivers all these benefits, it still delivers a high content of nicotine—a very addictive chemical compound.
There wouldn’t be IQOS without the tobacco heating system. In the next part, we’ll discuss the tobacco heating system.
Tobacco Heating System (THS): The Secret for IQOS Products
PMI designed THS in two versions. The 1st version of tobacco heating system consists of three primary parts:
- a) HEET/HeatSticks/ a heated tobacco unit
- b) A charger
- c) A holder
The 2nd version of the tobacco heating system is an integrated product. The holder is fused to the charger. The 2nd version tobacco heating system is better than the 1st version. It allows many uses without a recharge.
The essential Parts
The Heated Tobacco Unit
Heated tobacco unit is a unique plug of tobacco designed for heating. Tobacco is crushed and curled to make tobacco plugs.
It is the part on which holds the heated tobacco unit. It houses the heating blade that supplies heat on the tobacco plug.
PMI designed the heating blade to heat up to 350o C and maintain at that temperature. At 350o C, tobacco is heat evenly, ensuring a smooth taste. The heat energy is enough to avoid burning tobacco.
IQOS products have a temperature control system. It maintains a temperature of 350o C. the device powers-off automatically if temperatures exceed 350o C.
You should note, once you activate IQOS, the tobacco heating system is programmed for 14 puffs or to heat the blade for 6 minutes. Whichever action comes first.
after each session of smoking, recharge your device. Different IQOS products have batteries with different capabilities. The IQOS Duo is capable of sustaining two-sessions without recharging. IQOS Multi, a superior and advanced product, can sustain up to ten sessions.
IQOS: What Makes It the Best
Science backs the design and innovation of IQOS products. The CEO of PMI claims that his products are environment friendly. A simple comparison between smoking cigarettes and IQOS, IQOS is the best alternative.
The taste of tobacco from an IQOS is far better than a cigarette. A cigarette’s flavour comes from the toxins created while burning tobacco. IQOS heats tobacco, and it retains the original taste of tobacco. The design for IQOS products is supposed to create an experience similar to a smoking cigarette.
IQOS has low levels of toxic compounds. Individuals who use IQOS have minimal exposure to cancerous agents. Thus, it is safe to deliver nicotine using IQOS than a cigarette.
IQOS uses a system of heating tobacco instead of burning. At 3500C, nicotine emits in the form of vapour. This feature makes it possible to use IQOS discreetly in public. You will not bother other people.
IQOS technology is always improving. To keep up with the demand, PMI is launching new, better, and advanced products. For instance, the IQOS Multi is superior to IQOS Duo and the first IQOS.
PMI is aiming to dominate this market. To do that we should expect to see more advanced products in the future.
The Marketing Strategy
Over the decade, the sale of original cigarettes has been on the decline. PMI launched IQOS to save the company. PMI can only achieve this if they increase IQOS sales rapidly. The problem is IQOS is a relatively new product.
The marketing and branding had to be over the top. The marketing strategy had to reflect a culture and a lifestyle appealing to adult smokers.
The IQOS had to rethink for a fool proof idea, and the team comes up with the following:
PMI decided to use stationary and temporary stores to market IQOS. The stores or boutiques had to be stationary. The idea was consumers need to understand, touch, feel, and taste before they can buy. Time was required, and only stationary stores could offer that. Smoking is more of a ritual, and consumers need to be explained on the product undisturbed.
The stores were temporary to make it easy and flexible to react to market changes. It is a financial win, no need to owing a structure not making any money. The stores had to be along busy streets and high-end streets. The number of potential consumers is high in such locations. The product is a sign of high value and quality, and being in such locations communicated value.
IQOS boutiques have open spaces inside. PMI decided to have a large free place for people to stand and interact. PMI strategist figured, the adult smokers needed more information and illustration since IQOS was a new product. The open space would allow for interaction. They wanted clients to spend more time inside the store.
The stores were an integral part of the branding strategy. Stores represented IQOS culture, a warm and hospitable atmosphere. Structures in IQOS stores are made from high-quality wood, walnut, and ash.
The concept behind this is, the stores need to reflect and emphasize nature. To match with nature, just like tobacco- is a naturally occurring compound. Natural material had to design the stores. Not to forget, the structures in the store have the signature element of IQOS.
IQOS marketing strategy was meant to create an exceptional customer experience. And the approach seemed to work, and newer IQOS will be opening soon. The same success has reflected in sales revenue. PMI depends on sales of IQOS to fill the gap in cigarette sales. Some fear, IQOS will replace the original company.
Market Expansion and Growth
The first launch of the IQOS product was in japan. The reception was positive. After that, more stores have been operational across major cities in the world. South Korea is the newest market IQOS has ventured.
As of February 2020, the number of users stood at 13.6 million. An increase of 4 million from a year ago. The expansion could have caused the spike in the users. It could only mean people trust the product.
PMI is focusing on expanding and growing the IQOS market. The current target is the US market. PMI partnered with Altria to head the distribution and supply chain of IQOS in the US. Altria is supposed to make sure consumers have IQOS when they need it.
For a very long time, people have tried to quit smoking cigarettes. The absence of a better alternative to deliver nicotine made it impossible. IQOS come to the rescue. The advantages of using IQOS outweigh those of cigarettes.
IQOS is the first step to the next generation of taking tobacco. IQOS is eyeing a future of toxic-free delivery of tobacco. We just have to wait and see.