“Portugal is the 20th country where we will sell our electronic cigarettes [‘Logic Compact’], as of 4 November, as we already distribute our traditional tobacco in retail”, Yannick Girault, Country Manager of Japan Tobacco International (JTI) for Portugal, told Lusa.

He stressed that the company “currently has 39 employees”, and will sell its ‘e-cigarettes’ in Lisbon and Porto at 1,000 points of sale by the end of this year.

In a second phase, “we will extend the distribution to 4,000 points of sale throughout the country,” the manager said, adding that JTI considers that Portugal is “a very competitive market,” which has a “great potential” for growth and that adult smokers have a “great appetite” for innovation, quality and modernity.

JTI Portugal is “the second ‘player’” in the tobacco sector in the country, with a market share of 17 percent and, according to the manager, Portugal “is also the fastest growing”, with a team that has increased 30 percent in the last three years.

Yannick Girault also mentioned that this device will complete “the wide range of products offered by the multinational, in the traditional tobacco product segment and in the new category of vaporisers”.

Portugal will become the 20th country after the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, Greece, Russia, Belgium, Cyprus, Romania and Switzerland, which account for 79 percent of the overall electronic cigarette business.

“JTI has already invested around US$1 billion (€898 million) in the manufacture of this e-cigarette and expects to invest as much again by 2020,” the manager told Lusa, adding that “before it is marketed, everything has undergone thorough analysis, including toxicological assessments and quality controls of each of the ingredients used”. He continued: “This is one of the most regulated businesses in the world” and the company’s strategy in Portugal is to “invest more in the long term. It is not focused on the short term. It wants to spend another 20 years”.