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Switzerland: The war of heated tobacco


In Switzerland, two multinational tobacco companies will promote alternative products on the tobacco market. Those are British American Tobacco(BAT) and Philip Morris International (PMI).

British American Tobacco has invested not less than 1 billion euros in the research and development in England.The company aspires to become the leader of cigarettes without burning and markets it’s promoting its Glo product, an electronic device in which we have to insert a tobacco stick that is heated and not burnt.

Dr. Christopher Proctor (editor’s note: that should not be confused with Robert Proctor), evokes the slightest harm to this product over traditional cigarettes: “lowering the temperature by heating tobacco at only 140 degrees”, it allows to “reduce toxic substances” he explains…

Ralf Wittenberg, General Manager of BAT Switzerland, inquires about the adoption of the product for Swiss Consumers. And he has to face the competition of another tobacco market giant.

Philip Morris iQOS investment

It is Philip Morris, who previously launched his iQOS in this country with a $ 3 billion investment in research and experimentation in his center in Neuchâtel.

Julian Pidoux, one of the SME spokesmen, recalls the ambitions in the short and medium term of the cigarette maker. According to him, Philip Morris anticipates profitability already this year. “We hope this combustible cigarette can contribute positively to our business in 2018”.

For Claude Jeanrenaud, a professor of economics at the University of Neuchâtel, says that this move is a “survival strategy” by the tobacco producers.

However, tobacco sales are declining. “The number of cigarette followers drops every year, in the order of 2-3%,” says Julian Pidoux. A warning that does not seem to be shared by the Swiss Association for the prevention of smoking.

RTS recalls that “the tobacco industry makes 13,000 people live in Switzerland.” It has a profit of 6.5 billion francs a year, or 1% of gross domestic product(GDP).

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