Philip Morris International has stated many times in recent years that it is working towards a smoke-free future and its made investments in new categories outside of the traditional combustible tobacco products that helped build its name and company in generations past. IQOS, a heat-not-burn device, has already been distributed and commercialized in international markets and in s small way in the U.S., but recent news suggests there are some issues facing this new product as it struggles to gain traction.
Philip Morris International has reportedly closed all of its IQOS stores in the United Kingdom. As of 2019, there were around 16 dedicated IQOS stores in the UK and the recent move has left nearly 60 agency retail staff reportedly redundant according to a report from the Retail Gazette. Before the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the globe, there were plans for hundreds of IQOS stores across the UK. A spokesperson for Philip Morris told The Times that despite the recent move to shutter its retail stores in the UK, IQOS was “growing rapidly and is the number one smoke-free product in the UK.”