The United States Food and Drug Administration (US-FDA) has authorized the marketing of an electrically heated tobacco system as a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP).
This followed 43 months of evaluation of the products branded as IQOS which was developed by Philip Morris International, PMI, a leading US-based global tobacco company.
Industry analyst Sebastien Satigui said this is the first time the US-FDA has granted authorization to any manufacturer of a modified risk tobacco product for the marketing of an electronic alternative to cigarettes.
According to Mr. Satigui, the US-FDA found the new IQOS product to be “appropriate to promote the public health as it is expected to benefit the health of the population as a whole.”
He said while the US-FDA does not endorse IQOS, its authorization of the product’s marketing followed a review of more than one million pages of evidence submitted by PMI as well as outcomes of independent studies.
He noted that the US federal agency was right in its conclusion that non-combustible tobacco products such as IQOS differ from cigarettes in reducing the body’s exposure to harmful or potentially harmful chemicals.
Sebastien Satigui said the federal agency’s decision is consistent with earlier conclusions of similar regulatory and scientific bodies in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands, which have found that the product emits lower levels of harmful toxicants than lit cigarettes.
The scientific finding, according to him, recognizes the harm-reduction effects of the “heat-not-burn” technology, which provides smokers with nicotine, while substantially reducing the risks associated with the combustion of conventional cigarettes.
Mr. Satigui reasoned that as cigarette smoking kills more than seven million people worldwide each year, the US-FDA decision has opened a public health opportunity in the fight against the global tobacco epidemic.
Encouraging the rapid shift from smoking cigarettes to alternatives such as IQOS for adult smokers who have been unable or unwilling to quit – could save many lives.