Philip Morris South Africa (PMSA) earlier today announced that its local investments will exceed R650 million by 2020, as it expands the footprint of IQOS, its smoking device that heats tobacco instead of burning it on Mzansi soil.
The company says it has opened 26 new IQOS retail stores since launching in South Africa in April 2017, with 15 of these being opened last year alone.
Existing stores are concentrated in the major shopping malls of Cape Town, Durban and Gauteng. The company opened its first store at the V&A Waterfront in 2018. In June 2019, the IQOS flagship store opened for trading in Sandton City. It also opened kiosks in Gateway Mall in Umhlanga and Maponya Mall in Soweto.
Globally, Philip Morris International (PMI) has publicly announced its intention to replace cigarettes with smoke-free alternatives as soon as possible. The company classifies IQOS as a heated tobacco product or a smoke-free product since it doesn’t burn tobacco and produces no smoke.
According to Marcelo Nico, PMSA’s Managing Director, “Despite challenging economic conditions, we’re investing to bring better, smoke-free alternatives to South Africa’s 10 million adult smokers. Our total investment from 2017 to 2020 will exceed R650 million and we plan to continue investing in the years to come. This underlines our ongoing commitment to the South African economy.”
Philip Morris SA has prioritised local service providers and will continue to do so as it expands. He adds that the retail stores are designed to provide adult smokers “with an immersive experience that showcases the product’s science and how it differs from cigarettes and vapes”.