Independent retailers will be crucial in Philip Morris’ plans to create a smoke-free future.

The supplier 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.

The tobacco sticks are heated rather than burned, creating a vapour rather than smoke and removing 90-95% of the harmful toxic components in smoking.

Speaking at a European conference on Iqos earlier this month, Frederic de Wilde, president – European region at Philip Morris, said the tobacco giant’s goal is to convert every adult smoker to smoke-free products like Iqos.

“An increasing number of smokers are looking for less harmful alternatives to smoking,” he said. “But without retailers we will not be able to achieve our vision of a smoke-free future.” 

Matthew Tisdall, Philip Morris head of sales UK, added that working with the retail trade will 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,” he said.

The company is building a salesforce that will educate retailers on its range of products, so they can speak to customers about the benefits of Iqos.

Read more: Q&A with head of sales Matthew Tisdall.