About IQOS or how innovations can change the tobacco industry globally

Interview with the general manager of Philip Morris Moldova, Denis Zhogolev

About IQOS or how innovations can change the tobacco industry globally

Philip Morris International (PMI) officially announced the end of the regular cigarette era by designing a smoke free future. The first step taken by PMI to achieve this ambitious goal was the launch of IQOS – a new product, an alternative to conventional cigarettes, based on the revolutionary “heat-not-burn” technology, which heats the tobacco without burning it. Starting July 2018, adult smokers from Moldova seeking a better alternative to traditional cigarettes can also choose IQOS.
“VIP Magazin” team spoke with the general manager of Philip Morris Moldova, Denis Zhogolev, to learn how innovations can set a different future for the entire tobacco industry globally.

How did the idea to design a smoke free future emerge?
Smoking is harmful for your health. Both our consumers and the society naturally expect that we will provide a product with reduced health risks compared to conventional cigarettes. In this context, the “idea” of building a smoke-free future is a response to one of the most common questions: how can I reduce the risks of a harmful product if I do not want to give it up? By offering a new product based on tobacco heating technology, we wish that in the future all smokers give up their cigarettes. More so that rapid evolution of technology and science allows us to further develop reduced-risk products.

On the market there are already several alternative products to classic cigarettes. What is the novelty of the product?
IQOS is a unique product thanks to the revolutionary “Heat-not-Burn” technology. It works very simply: specifically designed tobacco stick is placed in the electronic device and heated to a strictly determined temperature. Thus, a nicotine-containing aerosol is produced, which allows the IQOS user to take part in the classic ritual of enjoying the tobacco. At the same time, smoke, ash, and unpleasant smell are missing. An important fact: the formed aerosol contains 90% less harmful and potentially harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes. However, use of IQOS does not eliminate health risks. The best way to reduce tobacco related health risks is to quit tobacco use altogether. More information about the benefits of this product can be found on iqos.com.

Who are the people behind IQOS?
This ambitious project has become a reality due to concrete actions implemented by PMI; one of these is the opening of a modern scientific research center in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Within this center, we develop and test products that release nicotine without emitting smoke (specific for cigarettes), but at the same time respond to the needs of adult smokers. Since 2008, PMI has invested 4.5 billion dollars in the successful activity of this center, benefiting from the contribution of over 400 world-class researchers, engineers and technicians. Currently, the company owns over 6000 patents worldwide, granted or pending approval. Our format does not allow me to tell you more, but those who are interested can find more information on the pmi.com

Any innovative product attracts public interest in the beginning, but it does not always last. Do you believe in the success of IQOS?
Certainly, PMI and I are convinced of the success of IQOS and we believe that such a product will find its way into any market where there are adult smokers who continue to smoke. IQOS is officially present on 40 markets around the world and over 5 million adult smokers have already given up cigarettes and switched to IQOS, including thousands of Moldovan smokers, and their number is growing every day.

We saw that PMI is going through an impressive process of transformation. How does it affect the company's activity and the business management on the Moldovan market?
You are absolutely right; the transformation through which the company goes does not only involve designing a smoke-free future. The company evolves internally, both globally and of course here in Moldova. For example, last year, we were the first Moldovan Company to launch a new business model of collaborating with retailers through special mobile applications. Moreover, it has become a rule for our team to manage the business by constantly seeking unorthodox solutions, using new tools in our activities, and applying techniques and methodologies such as SCRUM and Lean Start Up. We work with startups to learn how to make quick decisions, test them and, if necessary, give up on less viable projects. At the same time, we create new jobs, service centers, involving IT companies, and including young specialists from different fields. You could ask me what is the purpose of all this. Simply put, the purpose of our team, as well as of the company in general, is to provide innovative, reduced-risk products that meet the needs of our consumer.