Philip Morris unveiled Iqos, its new ‘heat not burn’ tobacco product to retailers at Pro Retail this month, signalling that it will be rolling out to the convenience channel in the coming months.

Philip Morris has said retailers will be crucial to the brand’s success.

Matthew Tisdall, Philip Morris head of sales UK, told us what retailers can expect.

When will Iqos be available to independent convenience stores?
Earlier this month, we made Iqos and Heets (the packs of tobacco sticks that are inserted into the Iqos device) available everywhere across the UK through the Iqos website. Working with the retail trade will also be a critical way to ensure consumers can get hold of the products at their convenience. We are developing our plans and will soon announce the next stage of our ambitious roll out to every part of the country. 

Are Heets subject to the same regulations as regular tobacco?
They are not subject to the same regulations as they are classified differently to conventional cigarettes – namely they come under novel tobacco products.
Heets are subject to the same promotional restrictions as conventional tobacco products. Just as consumers found out about e-cigarettes, we believe consumers will need to be informed about how Iqos can help them to stop smoking cigarettes. Retailers will need to be aware of the benefits of Iqos so they can answer questions from their customers.

What margin can retailers expect on Heets?
We are yet to reach a decision on the likely profits for retailers.

What training will retailers receive to educate their customers?
We will provide full support to retailers at the right time. Now we have invested in our new retailer platform, called MyDrive, this will enable us to communicate quickly and effectively with retailers.

How will PMI’s new salesforce for IQOS be involved with the independent convenience sector?
We are currently preparing our salesforce to be able to talk to retailers about all of our products – e-cigarettes, Heets and cigarettes. They will, of course, be one of the main contact points to help retailers understand our growing range of products.

What is the RRP likely to be?
A carton of 200 Heets costs £70, a carton of 100 Heets costs £37.50 and the Iqos device costs £89.

What percentage of UK smokers do you think might eventually switch from conventional cigarettes/tobacco to heated tobacco?
Our goal is to convert all existing adult legal age smokers to these products.