The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has approved one of two applications submitted by Philip Morris concerning its iQOS heat-not-burn tobacco product. This approved application will permit the company to launch sales of the heating device and three flavors of HeatSticks — regular, smooth menthol, and fresh menthol.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration still has not made a decision on Philip Morris’s second application; that application seeks authorization to market the iQOS products as being a less harmful alternative to traditional combustible cigarettes. Richmond, Virginia -based Altria will handle U.S. sales. Shares of the two companies rose on the news, climbing 1.5 percent for Philip Morris and 1.2 percent for Altria.
Studies have confirmed that iQOS does indeed present lower risk as compared to traditional cigarettes, chiefly be removing combustion from the equation.
Altria will launch the product domestically this summer in Atlanta, Georgia. The launch will involve a dedicated iQOS store as well as numerous mobile retail points of sale. Customers will also be able to purchase HeatSticks for use in the heating device at stores 500 stores including Circle K, Murphy USA, QuikTrip, RaceTrac, Speedway, and others.
The FDA released a statement announcing the approval which reads, in part:
“Ensuring new tobacco products undergo a robust premarket evaluation by the FDA is a critical part of our mission to protect the public, particularly youth, and to reduce tobacco-related disease and death. While the authorization of new tobacco products doesn’t mean they are safe, the review process makes certain that the marketing of the products is appropriate for the protection of the public health, taking into account the risks and benefits to the population as a whole.”