MANILA – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday authorized the marketing of IQOS, Philip Morris International’s (PMI) electrically heated tobacco system, as a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP).
“Through the modified risk tobacco product application process, the FDA aims to ensure that information directed at consumers about the reduced risk or reduced exposure from using a tobacco product is supported by scientific evidence and understandable,” said Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, in a press statement.
In doing so, the US FDA found that an IQOS exposure modification order is appropriate to promote the public health, and help addicted adult smokers transition away from combusted cigarettes and reduce their exposure to harmful chemicals, but only if they completely switch.
“The FDA’s decision is a historic public health milestone. Many of the tens of millions of American men and women who smoke today will quit—but many won’t. Today’s decision makes it possible to inform these adults that switching completely to IQOS is a better choice than continuing to smoke,” said André Calantzopoulos, PMI’s Chief Executive Officer.
The FDA decision demonstrates that IQOS is a fundamentally different tobacco product and a better choice for adults who would otherwise continue smoking.
“IQOS is a fundamentally different product than combustible cigarettes and must be regulated differently, as the FDA has recognized. Now -- more than ever — there is an urgent need for a fundamentally different conversation on a cooperative approach to achieve a smoke-free future. The FDA’s decision provides an important example of how governments and public health organizations can regulate smoke-free alternatives to differentiate them from cigarettes in order to promote the public health,” Calantzopoulos said.
IQOS is the first and only electronic nicotine product to be granted marketing orders through the FDA’s MRTP process. The FDA authorized the marketing of IQOS with the following information:
- The IQOS System heats tobacco but does not burn it.
- This significantly reduces the production of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals.
- Scientific studies have shown that switching completely from conventional cigarettes to the IQOS system reduces your body’s exposure to harmful or potentially harmful chemicals.
The FDA’s decision further builds on the emerging independent international scientific consensus that IQOS is a better choice than continuing to smoke, and follows the FDA’s April 2019 decision authorizing the commercialization of IQOS in the US.
This decision follows a review of the extensive scientific evidence package PMI submitted to the FDA in December 2016 to support its MRTP applications.
“Today’s decision is a result of our ongoing commitment to put science at the forefront as we continue on our quest to replace cigarettes with smoke-free alternatives as quickly as possible,” Calantzopoulos said.
“We are excited that this important decision will help guide the choices of adult smokers in the US. 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. As of March 31, 2020, PMI estimates that approximately 10.6 million adult smokers around the world have already stopped smoking and switched to IQOS. We believe that this decision can help to further accelerate the transition of U.S. adults away from cigarettes. We, along with our licensee Altria, are committed to guarding against unintended use and fully support FDA’s focus on protecting youth,” he said.
He added that they look forward to working with the FDA to provide any additional information they may require in order to market IQOS with reduced risk claims.
Calantzopoulos said, “harnessing innovations like IQOS to dramatically speed-up the decline in cigarette smoking is the opportunity of this century. Comprehensive, science-based regulation can help to rapidly shift adult smokers who would otherwise continue smoking to better options, while simultaneously guarding against unintended consequences.”
The FDA will closely monitor how IQOS is used by consumers to determine if these products meet this potential and do not cause increased use among youth. It is important to note that these products are not safe, so people, especially young people, who do not currently use tobacco products should not start using them or any other tobacco product,” he said. (PR)