Alternative tobacco and nicotine products in Japan

Japan is exceptional for the take-up of heated tobacco, being the star market for it worldwide. We estimate that there are currently around 10m heated tobacco users in Japan. If you are looking to understand how the market and regulatory landscape evolves in this region, you can find all our coverage and in-depth analysis here.

Heated tobacco in Japan

Japan is the country with the fastest adoption rate of heated tobacco products. It has become the leader of the sector worldwide and heated tobacco has seen exponential growth since the category launched in the market back in 2015, increasing more than 30-fold.

The uptake of heated tobacco is clearly led by the Japanese male population and mainly by current smokers – although smokers without intention to quit have registered a higher growth than those who are trying to quit or simply reduce cigarette consumption.

As in other major heated tobacco markets around the world, the young adult segment leads in usage; however, heated tobacco consumption among Japan’s older population has been continuously increasing since 2015.

The Japanese heated tobacco market is represented by four brands – Iqos (Philip Morris), Glo (British American Tobacco), Ploom (Japan Tobacco) and Pulze (Imperial Brands). It is worth mentioning that both Ploom and Pulze have been mostly marketed in Japan so far, while Iqos and Glo are the most available globally. Iqos and Ploom were the first to launch in Japan in mid-2016, followed by Glo at the end of 2017. Pulze was rolled out nationally in May 2019.