Philip Morris Allowed to Label IQOS As Reducing Harmful Exposure

Historic Milestone for Public Health

On Tuesday July 7, the US Food and Drug Administration permitted Philip Morris International Inc. to market IQOS as “modified risk” tobacco product. This decision can be called historic since it marked the first time that the FDA has granted Modified Risk Tobacco Product marketing orders for an innovative electronic alternative to combustible cigarettes.

Philip Morris International is a good example of a company following science-based regulations. PMI has transformed its entire business to focus on the consumer and develop scientifically substantiated better alternatives for those adults who would otherwise continue smoking. To date, PMI has invested USD 7.2 billion in the research and development of  smoke-free products. Furthermore, PMI has officially committed to stop selling cigarettes as soon as possible. As the company’s ambition is to secure a smoke-free future for all.

 PMI has conducted scientific research to find better alternatives, since the company aims to “leave the cigarette business” as Philip Morris Vice President of Scientific and Public Communications Dr. Moira Gilchrist said last October. In this effort, PMI introduced IQOS in 2014. The product uses innovative technology that does not burn tobacco but heats it to 350 degrees Celsius. IQOS produces no smoke and is inhaled as an aerosol.

The FDA decision follows a review of the extensive scientific evidence package PMI submitted to the FDA in December 2016 to support its MRTP applications. 

The FDA on Tuesday said that available evidence shows the IQOS system produces less harmful and potentially harmful chemicals. The agency cited scientific studies showing that switching completely from conventional cigarettes to the IQOS system significantly reduces exposure to such chemicals.

“Data submitted by the company shows that marketing these particular products with the authorized information could help addicted adult smokers transition away from combusted cigarettes and reduce their exposure to harmful chemicals, but only if they completely switch,” Mitch Zelle, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said in a statement.

On Friday, PMI  hosted an online media briefing regarding the FDA decision, led by Dr. Gilchrist and Mr. Calantzopoulos. What they underlined during the remote meeting was yet another accomplishment of IQOS: communicable information. Since the FDA’s decision confirms that IQOS differs from cigarettes distinctively, as it reduces exposure to harmful chemicals, public awareness will be raised on the subject. The FDA agreed this information be communicated to consumers to help guide their choices.

PMI officials agree that the best decision any smoker can make is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether. “The best choice for health is to never start smoking or to quit altogether. For those who don't quit, the best thing they can do is switch to a scientifically substantiated smoke-free product," Calantzopoulos said.

“Now is the time to rapidly shift smokers away from cigarettes. Scientifically sustained better alternatives like IQOS represent a public health opportunity,” Dr. Gilchrist told the media on Friday, summing up the briefing.

14 July 2020 10:06