Cigarettes sales to be phased out by Philip Morris Int within 15 years

The cigarette manufacturer has recently gained FDA approval to market its IQOS tobacco heating device.

Marlboro HeatSticks for iQOS are placed next to champagne bottles at a restaurant in Tokyo, Japan November 2, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS/KIM KYUNG-HOON)
Marlboro HeatSticks for iQOS are placed next to champagne bottles at a restaurant in Tokyo, Japan November 2, 2017.
(photo credit: REUTERS/KIM KYUNG-HOON)
America's Food and Drink Administration (FDA) has authorized the marketing of an electronic tobacco heating product, designed to completely replace cigarettes within the next ten to fifteen years.
The IQOS device, developed by cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris International (PMI) - the company behind leading brands including Marlboro, Virginia Slims and Benson & Hedges - releases a nicotine-containing vapor which the company claims is less harmful to smokers.
While cigarettes burn tobacco at over 600° Celsius, generating smoke containing a cocktail of chemicals, electronically heating the tobacco at lower temperatures of up to 350° causes the tobacco to release a vapor containing the nicotine craved by smokers but fewer chemicals overall. By phasing traditional cigarettes out, the company plans to be smoke-free by 2035.
In a statement, the company said that the FDA's decision "demonstrates that IQOS is fundamentally different from combustible cigarettes, and a better choice for adults who would otherwise continue smoking."
The device has already found favor with other administrations, including the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, which found that it emitted lower levels of harmful toxins. The FDA, meanwhile, is able to issue two types of orders on modified risk tobacco products: : a ‘risk modification’ order or an ‘exposure modification’ order. While PMI applied for both, only the exposure modification order was granted.
“After reviewing the available scientific evidence, public comments, and recommendations from the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee, the FDA determined that the evidence did not support issuing risk modification orders at this time, but that the scientific evidence package did support issuing exposure modification orders for these products," the FDA said in a statement.
It continued: “This determination included a finding that issuance of the exposure modifications orders is appropriate to promote the public health, and is expected to benefit the health of the population as a whole, taking into account both users and nonusers of tobacco products.”
The IQOS Tobacco Heating System, including the electronic IQOS device that heats tobacco-filled sticks wrapped in paper - specifically Marlboro Heatsticks, Marlboro Smooth Menthol Heatsticks and Marlboro Fresh Menthol Heatsticks - is already available in numerous countries around the world, including Israel and the Palestinian territories, the US, the UK, Russia, the UAE, and South Africa among others. Some 10.6 million people globally have already made the switch from cigarettes to heatsticks, according to PMI.
PMI’s CEO André Calantzopoulos said: “The FDA’s decision is a historic public health milestone. Many of the tens of millions of men and women who smoke today will quit – but many won’t. The FDA determined that scientific studies have shown that switching completely from conventional cigarettes to IQOS reduces exposure to harmful or potentially harmful chemicals.
“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."
In recent years PMI has radically transformed its business model away from the production of traditional cigarettes, pivoting toward smoke-free alternatives. The company has invested US$7.2 billion to date in research into smoke-free products. It has also committed to stopping selling cigarettes as soon as possible, announcing in a recent report that, with the right regulatory encouragement and support from civil society, it believes cigarette sales can end within 10 to 15 years in many countries.
Roy Amit, CEO of Philip Morris Israel said: "The FDA's decision is a historic decision and an important example of how governments and public health organizations can regulate smoking-free alternatives to protect and promote public health. We are confident that the Israeli Health Ministry will also join this trend in the scientific importance that the FDA considers."