Marlboro maker Altria started developing its new tobacco device more than a decade ago — as smoking rates declined but long before vaping took hold in the U.S.
It took two more years for regulatory clearance. But Altria is finally launching Iqos in the U.S. this week, and the company’s timing — though coincidental — couldn’t be better. “It’s perfect timing,” said Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Lavery. “I don’t think they would have expected some consumer uncertainty around vapor coinciding with the launch of Iqos in the U.S.”