Battle of Tobacco Titans over the Japanese Market


by Christina Matthews

Updated: July 7, 2017

Tobacco titans on the Japanese Market

Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, and Japan Tobacco are fighting for the supremacy over the Japanese market with their smokeless tobacco heating products. “I like the uniqueness of a new product,” said one Japanese consumer. Which product seems to have it all?

Three products, one market

Given the fact that Asia is the birthplace of modern electronic cigarettes, it is not surprising that two giants of the tobacco industry are battling over the Japanese market. However, three is a party. Hence a local Japanese competitor joined the race.

The three products aiming to dominate Japan and snatch the crown of the best-seller are:

  1.      IQOS (Philip Morris International, 9,980 Yen)
  2.      Glo (British American Tobacco, 8,000 Yen)
  3.      PloomTECH (Japan Tobacco, 4,000 Yen)

The similarities

What characterizes all three products is that they are heat-not-burn devices, as they heat tobacco instead of burning it. When it comes to these devices, there is no combustion, meaning there are no hazardous chemicals that cigarette smoke emits. As the FDA states, the last step that adds more dangerous chemicals to a cigarette is lighting it. It is no wonder then that mentioned companies are aiming at the Japanese market, boasting their technology and healthy living concepts.

The differences

What differentiates the three products, besides the pricing? You can only pick up the PloomTECH at some 100 locations after ordering it online. Even though it captures the least share of the market, this product does appeal to the Japanese as it completely lacks a smell. On the other hand, Glo is available at more than 8,000 convenience stores around Tokyo. IQOS is obtainable on 25 markets nationwide, and seemingly the most successful product. According to users, PloomTECH does not taste like tobacco at all, Glo tastes better, while IQOS still seems to be the most consumed of the bunch.

Regardless of which product will win, what is crucial in this story is that Japan has recognized, both regarding healthcare and profit, the importance of the fight against smoking. Take notes, USA.

Published: July 7, 2017

Christina Matthews

I love the written word, and in my career as a journalist, I strive to provide the facts about everything I write about. There are too many false and alarmist stories out there about life and vaping mainly. My mission is to make e-cigarettes less scary to people with informative articles and extensive research on not only the possible evils of cigarettes and Big Tobacco, but the objective side of e-cigs.


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