In recent years, heat-not-burn (HNB) tobacco products, with the significant advantage of reducing the
release of harmful components, have gradually become an important r&d direction for the tobacco industry,
causing HNBs` market share to grow rapidly.
One of the leaders in the HNB market is Philip Morris International (PMI). The company invested
more than US$4.5 billion in r&d and testing of low-risk tobacco products since 2008. These efforts led
to the creation of its core product, iQOS which took an unheard of (for a new product) 15.8% market
share in some markets from its launch in early 2016 to Q1/2018. By the end of 2017, IQOS was sold in
major cities in 38 regions or countries such as Japan and Korea.
According to data released by PMI`s 2018 shareholders` meeting, among the consumers who use
iQOS, the switch rates in Greece, Ukraine, and Romania are close to 80%, and the complete switch rates
in Russia, Serbia, Portugal, and other countries reached more than 50%. The consumption habits of
about 5 million adult smokers switched from traditional cigarettes to such products, reflecting the high
acceptance of this new type of tobacco products by consumers. Since its launch, iQOS sales and revenue
continue to increase, from a single quarter revenue of US$55 million in Q1/2016 to US$1.64 billion in
Q4/2017, accounting for nearly 20% of PMI`s entire revenue.
Glo, British American Tobacco`s HNB tobacco product heats special cut tobacco to about 240℃
producing vapor containing nicotine and generating tobacco flavor. The product was first launched in
Japan at the end of 2016. In addition, the company developed glo iFuse, a hybrid electronic device which
fuses tobacco heating and vaping technology that not only heats tobacco but also heats nicotine-flavored
Japan Tobacco went into the heated tobacco market in 2011 with Ploom Tech
which is designed using a low-temperature tobacco heating method that [would not
smoke, nor smell smoke, or generate ash". In 2016, Ploom Tech launched in Japan,
and its indirect heating of tobacco brought innovation to the Japanese heating tobacco
industry. In 2017, Ploom Tech launched in Europe. Currently, Ploom Tech is available
throughout Japan since June 2018.
Following the growing popularity of iQOS in Japan, HNB products have become
more popular with Chinese smokers due to its fashionable appearance and its claimed
lower risk. More and more iQOS devices flow into China through various channels.
However, unlike other countries where it enjoys popularity, iQOS has been severely
targeted by relevant departments in China. (the above info is from Tobacco Asia)
It seems Heat-Not-Burn cigarettes is a healthier way of smoking, and it's tobacco product which will take up much more markets in recent years. So, the development of more suitable filter cutting knives for HNB tobacco product will be an important direction, since the current carbide knives can not last long enough when they're cutting HNB cigarettes' filters with much stronger filling materials.
--------------------------------------Zhengtong Special Material Factory, a manufacturer and supplier of Tobacco Machine Spare Parts and knives.