Tobacco Company Philip Morris South Africa (PMSA) has welcomed the government’s decision to lift the ban on tobacco products and e-cigarettes. Although the blanket ban was a missed opportunity to offer consumers scientifically substantiated, better alternatives to cigarettes, PMSA is hopeful that the country will incorporate tobacco harm reduction into its plans to address smoking rates in South Africa.
“While the best option is to quit nicotine and tobacco entirely, most smokers don’t. Despite the most extreme measure of banning tobacco products in South Africa, a recent independent study indicated that the vast majority of smokers surveyed continued buying cigarettes. We believe that regulators should increasingly rally around scientific evidence and work for constantly improved regulations that can be leveraged for people who smoke and public health. Regulating scientifically substantiated, smoke-free products differently from cigarettes, in addition to the current measures aiming to prevent youth initiation and encouraging smokers to quit, would ensure that those who continue smoking make better choices than cigarettes. We look forward to engaging with regulators, the scientific community, civil society and the public on this,” says Nico.
With the lifting of the ban, the company reaffirms its commitment to create a smoke-free South Africa by encouraging all those who would otherwise continue smoking to switch to better alternatives to cigarettes. Nico adds that despite not being able to sell their products in South Africa for almost five months, IQOS is here to stay and plans to continue expanding into further regions in the country.
Effective immediately PMSA is reopening its 24 IQOS retail stores and will resupply its trade partners to meet the needs of its IQOS users and those adult smokers looking for better alternatives to continued smoking. “Many of our IQOS consumers were disappointed at not being able to purchase our products during the lockdown ban. We are working to support them and win back their trust. We have implemented strict safety, social distancing and hygiene measures at our stores to protect our consumers and staff,” says Nico.
IQOS is a tobacco heating system. It heats specially designed heated tobacco units, branded HEETS, up to 350°C, without combustion, fire, ash, or smoke, and switching completely to IQOS significantly reduces exposure to harmful or potentially harmful chemicals. IQOS is not risk free and contains nicotine, which is addictive.