Tobacco Harm Reduction Network (Thailand)

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US FDA authorizes marketing of IQOS

Speaking of giants, taipan Lucio Tan’s empire has gotten a boost after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently authorized the marketing of IQOS — Philip Morris International’s (PMI) electrically heated tobacco system — as a modified risk tobacco product.

The taipan’s Fortune Tobacco and PMI are partners in PMFTC, the top cigarette company in the Philippines.

In 2019, earnings of Tan’s holding company LT Group reached a record high of P23.1 billion, up 43 percent, with the cigarette business accounting for 67 percent.

With the US FDA’s move, I’m sure PMFTC will eventually bring in PMI’s heated tobacco product in the country and further grow its business with the addition of heated tobacco products.

But I don’t think PMFTC would replace its entire cigarette line-up with these alternative products, although I don’t know for sure.

IQOS is the first and only electronic nicotine product to be granted marketing orders as a modified risk tobacco product.

“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 CEO.

He said that because there is no combustion of tobacco with IQOS, it produces less harmful substances.

PMI submitted its application in December 2016, which went through a long tedious process with the US FDA including clinical studies.

As of March 31, PMI estimates that approximately 10.6 million adult smokers around the world have already stopped smoking and switched to IQOS.

Calantzopoulos believes that the US FDA’s authorization would help PMI further accelerate the transition of American adults away from cigarettes.

Will the same thing happen in the Philippines? I can’t imagine Filipinos in poorer communities shifting to IQOS, which is a pricey device. As I’ve said before the best alternative really is to totally quit smoking.

But the US FDA’s decision, just the same, is welcome news.

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