Tobacco company behind Marlboro hopes to cash in on e-cigarettesThis product image provided by Philip Morris International shows the iQOS device. AP Photo/Philip Morris InternationalShare:7Text: Share on print 3CTVNews.ca Staff Published Thursday, June 26, 2014 9:43PM EDT Last Updated Thursday, June 26, 2014 9:54PM EDTAs health-conscious smokers flock to cigarette alternatives such as e-cigarettes, the company behind Marlboro is trying to lasso consumers and reel them in with a new product that heats, but does not burn, tobacco.Philip Morris International Inc., the world’s second-largest tobacco company, announced Thursday that it plans to launch Marlboro HeatSticks in Japan and Italy later this year, and to further expand sales in 2015.HeatSticks contain real tobacco and resemble cigarettes. They can be inserted into a hollow device called an iQOS, which will heat the sticks up to 350 degrees. Once heated, the sticks give off a tobacco-flavoured nicotine vapour which users inhale.RELATED STORIESPhilip Morris shuttering plant in the NetherlandsFlavoured e-cigarette makers accused of targeting youthE-cigarette market growing by 10 brands a month: U.S. studyThe HeatSticks design is based on Accord, a product Philip Morris USA tested in the mid-1990s. Tobacco heating products were originally introduced into the market more than 20 years ago.Products that heat tobacco don’t create ashes and are supposed to leave a lingering smell. But sales of early products failed. Users complained the heated tobacco tasted different from cigarettes and that the devices were hard to use.Now, health concerns associated with smoking and a shift in society’s views towards smoking cigarettes, are increasing the popularity of alternatives.For example, e-cigarettes, battery powered devices that contain nicotine but not tobacco, are a growing trend. Some smokers say transitioning to e-cigarettes helped them quit smoking altogether, though the devices have not been officially approved by Health Canada.Products like HeatSticks “represent a potential paradigm shift for the industry, public health and adult smokers,” Philip Morris International CEO Andre Calantzopoloulos said at an investor day presentation Thursday.The company believes that now is the time to re-introduce tobacco-heating products into the market. It’s spent more than $2 billion and over 10 years developing the products. It hopes that investment will pay off with an estimated $700 million in profits from the sale of 30 billion units.HeatSticks aren’t Philip Morris International Inc.’s only venture into smoking alternatives. On Tuesday the company purchased Nicocigs Ltd., a company that produces e-cigarettes and is based in the U.K.