IQOS generates tobacco vapour with 95% less harmful chemical substances compared to normal cigarettes.
Despite tobacco restrictions in the country, Bhutan has not witnessed a significant decrease in tobacco consumption. Smoke-free alternatives are expected to complement the government’s efforts to reduce smoking rates in several countries worldwide.
Philip Morris International (PMI) has taken a significant step towards achieving a smoke-free future by opening its first I Quit Ordinary Smoke (IQOS) store in Thimphu. Aligned with the country’s emphasis on happiness and well-being, PMI aims to provide smoke-free alternatives to adult smokers who are struggling to quit traditional cigarettes.
The IQOS store offers a range of smoke-free devices and heat sticks, along with in-store demonstrations showcasing the innovation and science behind the products. The products range in price from Nu 4,200 and above.
Key features of IQOS ILUMA are the uses of heated tobacco product technology, which heats tobacco instead of burning it. The device emits an average 95 percent lower level of harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes.
Commenting during the store opening ceremony, the president of Druk International Tobacco, the authorized importer and distributor of IQOS products in Bhutan expressed excitement about the partnership with PMI.
He said that IQOS is a revolutionary breakthrough that redefines the approach to tobacco. “Embracing smoke-free alternatives will position Bhutan as a trailblazer in creating a smoke-free world and leaving a legacy of health and vitality for future generations.”
He added, “Globally, developing and scientifically assessing products that are better alternatives to cigarettes is a significant breakthrough that, if adopted, can contribute meaningfully towards tobacco control and public health.”
“IQOS is mainly for those who smoke heavily and wanted to quit but could not. The use of IQOS definitely controls the amount of cigarettes.”
However, he said that they will not entertain any person who is under the age of 18 or who is not indulging in smoking.
Liviu Petru Vornicu, General Manager of Future Growth Markets at PMI, emphasized the company’s commitment to transform for the better.
Liviu said that the opening of the IQOS store marks a significant milestone in PMI’s mission to achieve a smoke-free Bhutan. He further added that he sees smoke-free products as an opportunity to reduce smoking rates for the benefit of public health and society at large.
“Millions of adult smokers deserve better options; science can offer a mid-point between quitting and dying,” Liviu added.
Meanwhile, IQOS has been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) with reduced exposure information.
Unlike traditional cigarettes that burn tobacco, IQOS devices heat tobacco at lower temperatures, preventing combustion and the production of smoke. With 95% less harmful chemical substances, this process generates tobacco vapor with significantly fewer harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes. The company continues to expand its IQOS portfolio, and these smoke-free alternatives are now available in 82 countries worldwide.
PMI’s acquisition of Swedish Match in November 2022 further solidified its commitment to smoke-free products by adding the IQOS and ZYN brands. The U.S. FDA has authorized PMI’s IQOS devices and consumables, as well as Swedish Match’s General Snus, as Modified Risk Tobacco Products.
As of September 30, 2023, approximately 19.7 million adults worldwide had already switched to IQOS and stopped smoking, accounting for approximately 36.2% of PMI’s total third-quarter 2023 net revenues.
With a foundation in life sciences, PMI announced its ambition to expand into wellness and healthcare areas in February 2021. Through its Vectura Fertin Pharma business, the company aims to enhance lives by delivering seamless health experiences.
With the opening of the first IQOS store in the country, it embarks on a journey towards a smoke-free future, empowering adult smokers to make healthier choices while contributing to public health and well-being.
The PMI is a leading international tobacco company working to deliver a smoke-free future and evolving its portfolio for the long term to include products outside of the tobacco and nicotine sectors. The company’s current product portfolio primarily consists of cigarettes and smoke-free products.
Since 2008, PMI has invested more than USD 10.5 billion to develop, scientifically substantiate, and commercialize innovative smoke-free products for adults who would otherwise continue to smoke, to completely end the sale of cigarettes. This includes the building of world-class scientific assessment capabilities, notably in the areas of pre-clinical systems toxicology, clinical and behavioral research, as well as post-market studies.
Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu