Big tobacco switch to smoke-free alternatives

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Big tobacco companies chose Cyprus among the first countries to launch their campaigns to reduce the health impact of their business by encouraging smokers to switch to less risky alternatives.

As people become more aware of the health risks of smoking cigarettes, big tobacco has shifted towards new alternative products that potentially pose a smaller hazard to human health.

This week, British American Tobacco (BAT) and Philip Morris, importers of most tobacco products in Cyprus, presented their latest alternative smoking products.

BAT launched its campaign, presenting its Glo Hyper+ heating device to the Cypriot market.

Country Manager for Cyprus CEO Marios Argyrides said BAT’s Glo is a tobacco heating device offering consumers a smoking experience without inhaling harmful chemicals created with the combustion of a traditional cigarette.

“It’s an exciting moment to be launching BAT’s tobacco heating product in Cyprus, which demonstrates BAT’s commitment to offering adult consumers potentially lower-risk alternative tobacco and nicotine products.

Also known as heat-not-burn tobacco products, the devices heat a cigarette without using an open flame.

The device is closer to a traditional cigarette than an e-cigarette or a vape device, which doesn’t contain tobacco because the nicotine comes directly from the cigarette.

Some 28% of Cypriots still smoke, while 40% of the smoking population are increasingly concerned over the health implications of smoking and are looking for alternatives.

BAT imports a range of tobacco products ranging from Pall Mall, Rothmans, and Lucky Strike.

“The company has had a presence on the island since 1951, contributing to the Cypriot economy with jobs through its cigarette packaging activities and taxes paid to the Cyprus government,” said Argyrides.

He told the Financial Mirror that the company had a strong presence on the island, with its own manufacturing and packaging facilities until 2005.

Job support

Argyrides said that the company had 230 employees working at its facilities.

“Τhe decision to launch Glo in Cyprus builds on the company’s significant contribution to the Cypriot economy.

“In recent years, the company has contributed €500 mln in state revenues, significantly supporting the Cypriot economy.

“At the same time, the company supports about 5,000 jobs through its network of retailers and distributors”.

Argyrides said that BAT is to continue investing in Cyprus, as €20 mln will be going into promoting Glo.

The investment will see the creation of 100 jobs in the local economy, as the company will hire staff to promote Glo Hyper+ at supermarkets and kiosks.

“When designing our strategy for Cyprus, we thought about setting up our own stores.

“However, we found that reaching out to consumers with a face-to-face campaign would better suit our strategy.”

Argyrides said switching to BAT’s tobacco heating alternative will not push up the cost of Cypriots’ smoking experience.

“On the contrary, the product is entering the Cypriot market as an affordable consumer offer with enhanced performance while still offering an alternative compared to smoking”.

BAT’s Glo Hyper+ heating device can be found at all kiosks and supermarkets at €15, while a pack of 20 cigarettes costs €3.

Glo’s cigarettes come in four flavours, Classic, Terracotta Tobacco, Arctic Click (menthol) and the Scarlet Click.

Meanwhile, another big tobacco firm active in Cyprus, Philip Morris International (PMI), presented a series of heated tobacco products (HTPs) and electronic cigarettes under its IQOS brand.

How does heating tobacco differ from burning tobacco?

Cigarettes burn tobacco at high temperatures, producing ash, tar, and smoke that contains high levels of harmful chemicals.

But PMI’s HTPs heat tobacco to significantly lower temperatures without burning it, producing no fire, ash, or smoke.

Manufacturers argue that because the tobacco is heated and not burned, the average levels of harmful chemicals are significantly reduced compared to cigarette smoke.