Philip Morris (PMI) reported that 20,000 Mexican smokers migrated to his tobacco heating device, IQOS. The device, which the tobacco company claims reduces exposure to the chemicals in the smoke, was launched in Mexico 10 months ago. "We are approximately 20,000 Mexican smokers who have switched to IQOS. Beyond how many devices we have sold, the important thing is how many adult smokers have switched to this alternative," said Catalina Betancourt, director of external affairs for Philip Morris Mexico.
The number of smokers in Mexico is 15 million people, so with their smoke-free electronic device they would have an estimated 0.13 percent of the market. The company expects at least 120,000 smokers to migrate to its electronic device by 2020. However, since February the Mexican government has banned the import of electronic cigarettes and similar products, but not their sale.
"A technology like IQOS that has evidence behind it is a new technology that deserves new regulation, the health regulation on tobacco is outdated, the last change was 10 years ago," she said. Philip Morris wants Mexican authorities to reconsider the ban decree after the U.S. health agency, the FDA, said in early July that IQOS is a 'modified exposure' product.
The civil organization Salud Justa Mexico reported that the tobacco industry led by PMI and British American Tobacco (BAT) is using Covid-19 to intensify its advertising and promotion. "They have offered that IQOS demonstrators go to the homes of potential customers to talk about the advantages of using this product," said Juan Nunez Guadarrama, coordinator of Coalitions of the organization.