Late last month, the Food and Drug Administration approved premarket tobacco applications for Philip Morris International’s IQOS device, Marlboro Heatsticks, Marlboro Smooth Menthol Heatsticks and Marlboro Fresh Menthol Heatsticks, a move the American Vaping Association called “a win for public health.”
The April 30 announcement — which capped a more than two-year waiting period — opens the door for Virginia-based Altria Group to distribute the heated tobacco product in the U.S. The device, along with the Marlboro products, intend to reduce cigarette smoking.
“Heated tobacco products are not safer than traditional vaping products, but both products are clearly far less hazardous than smoking cigarettes,” said Gregory Conley, president of the American Vaping Association, in a press release. “With IQOS freely available in several dozen countries, it would have been a travesty of justice if the FDA had denied this application.”
According to the AVA, the introduction of IQOS in Japan and South Korea resulted in “remarkable declines in cigarette sales.” The cigarette market in Japan has decreased by a third in just three years.
“The culture (in Japan) is very different,” Conley told Tobacco News Wire. “They care a lot about not bothering people around them.”
He thinks that IQOS will perform well in the U.S.
“I don’t know if it will surpass the entire vaping market, but I think it will serve as a great option to smokers who haven’t wanted to switch to vaping or been unable to,” said Conley.
He surmises that the FDA’s decision to greenlight IQOS will inspire other large international tobacco companies to enter the American market.
“That’s the tobacco companies showing a willingness to cannibalize their own revenue, and it’s a positive for the industry going forward in my mind,” said Conley.
As previously reported in Tobacco News Wire, the FDA warns that, while the products can be sold, they are not safe nor are they FDA approved.