November 12, 2019 / 7:53 AM / a month ago

Japan Tobacco halves price of reduced-risk cigarette starter kit

FILE PHOTO: Japan Tobacco Inc. displays “heat-not-burn” tobacco devices Ploom TECH+ (L) and Ploom S during the unveiling in Tokyo, Japan, January 17, 2019. REUTERS/Taiga Uranaka/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan Tobacco is halving the price of starter kits for its Ploom S reduced-risk cigarettes, as it struggles to compete against rival Philip Morris International.

Japan is the world’s biggest market for “heat not burn” products, which emit less smoke than conventional cigarettes, as regular e-cigarettes with liquid nicotine are banned.

From Dec. 1, the recommended retail price of the kit, including the smoking device which heats tobacco sticks, micro USB cable and AC adapter, will be 3,480 yen ($31.90) from 7,980 yen, Japan Tobacco said on Tuesday.

In October, the company said fewer people than it expected were trying out and switching to Ploom S, amid strong competition from Philip Morris’ IQOS, cutting its annual profit outlook.

The company said it now expected full-year operating profit of 505 billion yen, down from a previous forecast of 518 billion. For the third quarter, operating profit fell 26% on the year, to 129 billion yen.

Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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