LONDON – As word that Philip Morris International’s “heat not burn” product has ignited consumer interest in Japan, PMI’s rival, British American Tobacco (BAT), has also chimed in on its own version called glo, having reported early success with its recent launch there.
Having invested more than $1 billion over the last five years in alternative products like its electronic cigarettes and tobacco-heating devices, the London-based BAT called glo “a real game changer for consumers—a genuine advancement in tobacco-heating products for the Japanese market,” according to Kingsley Wheaton, managing director of next-generation products for BAT, in the company’s 2016 Sustainability Report. BAT will undoubtedly leverage its recent purchase of controlling interest in Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Reynolds American Inc. to introduce its heat-not-burn technology into U.S. markets.
Now in its fourth month in Japan with glo, BAT told Reuters that demand has overwhelmed supply. Reuters also noted that heat-not-burn tobacco products are rapidly gaining popularity there, with New York-based PMI saying it has more than doubled the supply of its iQOS tobacco-heating device, which was still not enough to meet the demand. Another competitor, Tokyo-based Japan Tobacco Inc. will begin selling its Ploom Tech e-cigarettes in some parts of Tokyo. BAT indicated that it plans to sell glo throughout Japan later this year.
“I see our role in tobacco-harm reduction very clearly,” Wheaton said. “It’s to help reduce the public-health burden of smoking and, to do so, ensure that we have the resources, skills and ambition to develop and market a compelling range of products which will deliver to consumers’ needs.”
Glo provides a similar experience to that of a cigarette, but by heating, rather than burning, tobacco. BAT said glo has around 90% less toxicants than a standard cigarette and works by heating “Neostiks,” under the Kent brand, that contain tobacco.