Philip Morris Korea on Tuesday launched Iqos Iluma, its new flagship heated tobacco product that requires no cleaning process, saying it hopes to enhance customer experience.
“Our new heat-not-burn cigarette uses smart core induction technology that doesn’t require heating blades like previous models. Since the tobacco sticks are not inserted into the blades, you don’t have to clean the ashes caught in the blades and there is no risk of damaging them,” said Baek Young-jae, Philip Morris Korea CEO, during a press conference held in Seoul.
South Korea is the seventh country and third major market following Japan and Spain to roll out the new heated tobacco product, the company said.
Baek said the new product reduces the levels of toxicants by 95 percent compared to cigarette smoke, just like the existing Iqos models. This result was obtained from the company’s clinical trial in 2018, he said.
The CEO urged the Korean government to engage in an active discourse on promoting heated tobacco as in alternatives for combustible cigarettes.
“Other countries are already pushing for switching to noncombustible cigarettes to promote public health. In the US, our products have been authorized as Modified Risk Tobacco Products by the FDA on July 2020,” he said.
“Also, the UK has carried out a promotional campaign for heat-not-burn tobaccos, while applying strict regulations on traditional cigarettes.”
The Korean government has been against tobacco companies' campaigns promoting the "positive effects" of heated tobacco, according to Kim Ju-han, head of external affairs at Philip Morris Korea.
In 2018, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said the levels of nicotine contained in heated tobacco and combustible cigarettes are similar and noncombustible cigarettes showed increased level of tar compared to cigarette smoke. The authority's stance has since been unchanged.
With its new flagship tobacco product, Philip Morris International, the parent company, aims to expand the sales of heated tobacco products to account for 50 percent of total sales by 2025.
In 2016, Philip Morris International announced it would gradually switch its product lines from combustible cigarettes to heated tobacco under the “smoke-free” slogan. Since 2008, the company has injected $9.2 billion into research and development to develop noncombustible cigarette products.