Despite only emerging in Portugal in 2016, by 2017 heated tobacco had become the dominant category within vapour products in value terms. The category’s rapid ascent was supported by heavy investment in marketing and distribution by Tabaqueira, which has long been the clear leader in cigarettes in the country.
Because it was already treated as a tobacco product, heated tobacco was spared from tax increases arising from legislative changes in 2017. This was not the case with other types of vapour products, which had previously not been considered legally equivalent to traditional tobacco products.
In 2017 cig-a-likes and open vaping systems were both negatively affected by new legislation that classified all nicotine-based vapour products as tobacco products. This made these products subject to the same legal framework as traditional tobacco products in areas such as smoking in public and, most notably, taxation.
The introduction of the IQOS heated tobacco system in Portugal by Tabaqueira in 2016 was supported by a significant marketing investment. This investment included the opening of a flagship store in a high street location in Lisbon, as well as the launch of the Visit Me programme, under which sales representatives contact potential consumers directly to demonstrate how the IQOS system works and offer free product trials.
Distribution of heated tobacco sticks brand Marlboro Heets continued to improve in 2017. This brand was initially only available from select newsagent-tobacconists/kiosks, but is now increasingly sold via forecourt retailers and other types of retail outlets across Portugal.
Given the relative novelty of heated tobacco, there is still much uncertainty about the long term prospects for this product type. Nonetheless, heated tobacco looks set to attract growing interest from legislators, consumers and tobacco producers over the short-to-medium term.
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This report originates from Passport, our Smokeless Tobacco and Vapour Products research and analysis database.
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