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ASPIRE2025 webinar | “Not a cigarette, not an e-cigarette”: IQOS marketing strategy and responses
IQOS, a new tobacco product by Philip Morris International, uses electronic device to heat tobacco sticks containing processed tobacco leaf to create nicotine-containing aerosol/smoke – therefore called “heated tobacco products”, or sometimes, “heat-not-burns”. Since its introduction in a selected countries such as Japan in 2016, it is now available in more than 60 countries worldwide, including the US and New Zealand. In July 2020, the US FDA authorized IQOS 2.4 as a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP) for “reduced exposure” – which allowed they include claims that using IQOS exposes the smoker’s body to lower amount of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals than smoking cigarettes. While it is now allowed to claim that using IQOS reduces the risks of tobacco-related diseases, there’s concern that people will misinterpret the reduced exposure claims as reduced risk claims. In the US, IQOS is aiming for a position that is “not a cigarette, not an e-cigarette”, creating a perception of a gap in the tobacco/nicotine market to build and expand their customer base.
This talk will discuss a) how IQOS is being marketed globally – making direct and indirect claims of reduced risks (compared to both cigarettes and e-cigarettes), targeting young people using flavors and device designs, and appealing to affluent customers using high-end services; b) how tobacco users respond to IQOS marketing strategies as observed using novel qualitative method of “narrated unboxing interview”; and c) how twitter users are discussing IQOS following the FDA’s MRTP authorization (preliminary analysis of 2,400 tweets between June 2020-December 2021).

Minji Kim, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior
Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina

Jul 19, 2022 12:00 PM in Auckland, Wellington

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