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Webinar | “Not a cigarette, not an e-cigarette”: IQOS marketing strategy and responses

The ASPIRE2025 Research Centre welcomes Dr Minji Kim, from the Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina for this webinar presentation on heated tobacco products.

TUESDAY 19 July, 12-1pm (NZST)


IQOS, a new tobacco product by Philip Morris International, uses an electronic device to heat tobacco sticks containing processed tobacco leaf to create nicotine-containing aerosol/smoke – therefore called “heated tobacco products”, or sometimes, “heat-not-burns”. Since its introduction in selected countries such as Japan in 2016, it is now available in more than 60 countries worldwide, including the US and New Zealand. In July 2020, the US FDA authorized IQOS 2.4 as a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP) for “reduced exposure” – which allowed they include claims that using IQOS exposes the smoker’s body to lower amounts of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals than smoking cigarettes. While it is now allowed to claim that using IQOS reduces the risks of tobacco-related diseases, there’s concern that people will misinterpret the reduced exposure claims as reduced risk claims. In the US, IQOS is aiming for a position that is “not a cigarette, not an e-cigarette”, creating a perception of a gap in the tobacco/nicotine market to build and expand their customer base. 

This talk will discuss a) how IQOS is being marketed globally – making direct and indirect claims of reduced risks (compared to both cigarettes and e-cigarettes), targeting young people using flavours and device designs, and appealing to affluent customers using high-end services; b) how tobacco users respond to IQOS marketing strategies as observed using novel qualitative method of “narrated unboxing interview”; and c) how twitter users are discussing IQOS following the FDA’s MRTP authorization (preliminary analysis of 2,400 tweets between June 2020-December 2021).


Dr Minji Kim’s research focuses on targeted and tailored health communication. Kim’s recent projects include examining the effects of targeted marketing and counter-marketing of emerging tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, with emphasis on the impact on vulnerable populations including youth and Asian Americans.


To register for this event and to confirm that you do not have any of the affiliations outlined below, please complete your registration here.

Once your registration has been approved, you will be emailed the access details and a link to the webinar.

Who should attend?

We welcome registration from people in the public health, community health and smokefree sectors, and others interested in public health policy.

Please note: ASPIRE seminars, webinars and other events are not open to individuals working with or for any tobacco company, or who are affiliated to the tobacco industry in any way. Nor are they open to any individuals or groups who have interests in or relationships with tobacco companies, including, but not limited to, the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW) and FSFW grantees. ASPIRE events are opportunities for civil and respectful discussions of research. We recognise diverse views on topics may exist; however, these events are not open to individuals who abuse those holding views that differ from their own.

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