Tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI) opened on Wednesday its first retail store in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region dedicated to its “smoke-free” products.

Located on the first floor of Fashion Avenue in Dubai Mall, the bespoke outlet has a size of 112 square metres and it's overlooking the Burj Khalifa tower and the Dubai Fountain.

It will offer customers the opportunity to learn more about the heated tobacco technology and how smokers can shift from traditional products to innovations such as Philip Morris’ IQOS.

Healthier alternative?

IQOS is the Marlboro maker’s answer to e-cigarettes and it’s part of an ongoing effort to rid the world of the scourge of tobacco smoking and move toward safer, low-risk alternatives.

“Although the pandemic has been difficult for all of us and has changed the way we work and even live, it has brought on some positive aspects along with it. In these difficult times of uncertainty, I’m proud to say that we achieved a lot. One such achievement is the opening of IQOS boutique at the Dubai Mall,” said Tarkan Demirbas, PMI’s area vice president for the Middle East.

“The opening of this boutique presents another step in our journey to a smoke-free future in the region…. It is one of the best, if not the best, IQOS boutique in the world,” Demirbas said during the opening of the store.

The company has invested more than $7.2 billion to develop smoke-free products.

The opening of the first store in the GCC follows just about a year after the Marlboro maker introduced IQOS in the UAE.

The UAE’s Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) had earlier issued a new set of standards, which took effect in April last year, to legalise the sale and use of electronic smoking devices.

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

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