Sadly India, is home to the world’s second-biggest smoking population, and the fact that local authorities keep tightening regulations related to safer alternatives, is certainly not helping the situation.
Within a year of being launched in Korea, approximately a million Korean smokers were calculated to have already switched from smoking to using the device.
However, according to an article on Business Insider, a government source apparently said that New Delhi would keep an “open mind” if approached by PMI to discuss selling devices that could aid smoking cessation, as long as they are not proven to be harmful.
The iQOS device, is a smokeless alternative to combustible cigarettes and works by heating tobacco leaves known as Heets. These refills which look like short cigarettes, which must be inserted into the device and are heated once it is switched on, are sold under the Marlboro brand.
This time last year, the device was launched in Korea, and Philip Morris Korea has estimated that approximately a million Korean smokers have already switched from smoking to using the product, whilst the market share of Heets, has been reported at 7.3 percent in the first quarter of this year.
Indian lawmakers urged to regulate safer alternatives sensibly
PMI is now planning a strategic launch in India, including work on branding, pricing, and discussions with local lawmakers. The tobacco company’s top corporate affairs executive in India, R. Venkatesh, is said to have been interviewing candidates for the role of senior executive who would focus on iQOS. “We do not comment on our launch plans, but are committed to working hard to replace cigarettes with scientifically substantiated smoke-free products”, said a PMI spokesperson.
“With alternatives to cigarettes available and countries already delivering on their smoke-free ambitions, the incentive is there for lawmakers to support Indian smokers – who deserve a better option.”R. Venkatesh, Corporate Affairs Executive in India, PMI
Last week on “World No Tobacco Day” Venkatesh wrote a column for India’s Economic Times newspaper, urging local regulators to implement “effective regulations” for safer alternatives. “With alternatives to cigarettes available and countries already delivering on their smoke-free ambitions, the incentive is there for lawmakers to support Indian smokers – who deserve a better option,” he said.