Philip Morris International is dreaming of a smoke-free future.
The world’s largest publicly traded tobacco company said it will invest $320m and create 500 jobs to build an 80,000 square meter manufacturing plant in Dresden, Germany, which it promises will be high-tech and smoke-free.
The site, which will break ground later this year, will produce HEETS, or HeetSticks — the tobacco product used with the heating device IQOS.
“Unlike cigarettes, IQOS does not burn tobacco. Instead it heats it to temperatures below combustion to generate a tobacco vapour that is satisfying to adult smokers,” the company explains.
Philip Morris, which is behind the Marlboro brand, has spent $3bn over more than a decade to create IQOS. A pilot programme for selling it in three German cities last year went better than expected, prompting a nationwide roll-out and a need for more of the tobacco product.
Dresden is the capital of Saxony, the easternmost province of Germany that fell behind the Iron Curtain and which is now trying to regain its reputation as a site of innovation and engineering excellence. The big German carmakers have made Saxony their home for major investments in electric cars.
“I am particularly proud that PMI has decided to produce its most innovative consumable in Dresden, which will become a hub for the transformation of the tobacco industry and society at large,” said Stanislaw Tillich, prime minister of the state.