For three years now, Philip Morris International management have been working to reduce their production share of traditional cigarettes to develop vaping technology and smokeless or heat-not-burn devices such as the IQOS. CEO André Calantzopoulos recently made a statement on the company’s plans to develop connected objects. The objective? Helping users take control of their health. The new measure has its share of supporters, but also opponents.
During a recent interview with AFP, André Calantzopoulos stated that Philip Morris International was moving towards products that combine vaping with health monitoring technology. New technological breakthroughs seem to support this direction. Indeed, people who vape are often holding their devices a large part of the day.
In his opinion, adapting these devices to monitor health could even lead to reduced life insurance costs. In the USA, many insurance companies give rebates to individuals who agree to wear activity-tracking bracelets.
Innovation in the pipeline
Following this announcement, many voiced their opinion against this project by Philip Morris. Opponents are worried about data privacy in particular. Data retrieved via these systems could be used for commercial purposes.
The Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI) supports the proposal set forth by André Calantzopoulos. A grain of salt is required to digest this, however, as this association was created and funded in large part by Philip Morris.
Philip Morris hopes to persuade health authorities that their new products, such as the IQOS, are safe. But currently, the cigarette company’s innovations in the field of tobacco substitute products has not convinced the WHO members involved with TFI. While Juul’s pod devices have seen record sales in 2018, the IQOS by Philip Morris has been losing market shares every month, and there is no certainty that a health monitoring gadget will save the IQOS from sinking commercially.