IQOS USA: Product Portfolio

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Until IQOS ILUMA receives authorization (marketing order) from the US FDA (not expected before July 2025), Philip Morris International (PMI) will introduce the IQOS3 line-up in a limited geography in the US. The portfolio will be composed of IQOS3 device and (most probably) HEETS heated tobacco stick variants: HEETS Bronze, HEETS Sienna, HEETS Amber, HEETS Fresh Menthol and HEETS Smooth Menthol.

PMI will not be able to use the Marlboro brand in the US as Marlboro belongs to Altria (through Philip Morris USA) in the US. Recall: (1) Altria also owned PMI until the spin-off in March 2008, (2) PMI is no longer using Marlboro trademark (barring limited exceptions) for heated tobacco sticks in the international markets even if it owns the rights. HEETS is an educative (self-explanatory) brand name for a product that heats tobacco instead of burning it; thereby, it is understandable that HEETS serves well as an introductory brand in markets where heated tobacco is not known.

HEETS flavors

– Bronze: Rich & Warm. A mellow and aromatic tobacco blend married with cocoa and dry fruit aroma notes

Sienna: Balanced & Woody. A rounded, toasted tobacco blend matched with woody nuances and subtle light tea aroma notes

Amber: Balanced & Roasted. A rounded, toasted tobacco blend layered with lightly-scented woody and nutty aroma notes

– Smooth Menthol: Balanced & Refreshing. Lower menthol (7 mg menthol/stick)

– Fresh Menthol: Refreshing & Cooling. High menthol (13 mg menthol/stick)

Although HEETS offers a much wider range of flavor selection in the international markets, PMI will not be able to launch the variants not authorized for marketing in the US (i.e. no PMTAs submitted). From the get-go, US smokers are set to be entertained with a narrower (in terms of flavor range) and less progressive portfolio (e.g. no special editions or “creations”) of heated tobacco sticks due to the lengthy and costly PMTA process.

HEETS product proposition

PMI defines HEETS as “a modern twist on tobacco classics offering a range of taste experiences from rich to refined, including tobacco with menthol and aromatic tobacco blends to satisfy every taste”.

PMI also states that

– In HEETS sticks the tobacco is not burnt, but heated (note: this message is FDA-authorized in the US)

– HEETS delivers the true taste of real tobacco that is different than what smokers are used to with a cigarette that is burnt

– Smokers who have switched to IQOS say that there is less unpleasant feeling and aftertaste left in their mouth compared to after finishing smoking a cigarette (based on online survey conducted by third-party research agencies in 2015-17 among 3,344 IQOS users in Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Romania and Russia).

HEETS are designed to last on average 6 minutes or 14 puffs – which is (more or less) similar to a conventional cigarette. But as the HEETS taste is different (weaker), smokers may be inclined to puff more frequently. Longer and gentler puffs would extend the duration of use. 

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