Competition to sate Japanese nicotine addicts is heating up.
Philip Morris International Inc. and Japan Tobacco Inc. have rolled out products that are heated — not burned — in battery-charged devices, seeking to appeal to smokers who want their nicotine fix without the usual smell and smoke. The move, part of the rapidly growing global vaping trend, has created a bright spot on Japan's otherwise bleak tobacco market.
The approach is winning devotees because it avoids the part of smoking that involves setting tobacco on fire and inhaling the smoky fumes. In fact, demand for the cigarette alternatives — while still tiny compared with the paper-rolled type — has grown faster than manufacturers had anticipated, leaving Japan Tobacco grappling with a supply bottleneck and ceding ground to Philip Morris, the world's largest tobacco company.