Philip Morris Malaysia welcomes US agency’s decision on marketing IQOS system as historic milestone

Jerry Choong
·3-min read
An iQOS electronic cigarette, which heats tobacco sticks but does not burn them, is shown at Philip Morris International’s research and development campus in Neuchatel, Switzerland on August 21, 2018. — AFP pic
An iQOS electronic cigarette, which heats tobacco sticks but does not burn them, is shown at Philip Morris International’s research and development campus in Neuchatel, Switzerland on August 21, 2018. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 — Philip Morris Malaysia has welcomed the decision by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) yesterday to authorise the marketing of Philip Morris International’s (PMI) IQOS electrically heated tobacco system, as a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP).

Managing director Naeem Shahab Khan said the decision confirms that IQOS is distinctly different from cigarettes.

“It also highlights the fact that not all tobacco and nicotine-containing products are the same,” he said in a statement.

Naeem acknowledged that although quitting tobacco and nicotine altogether is always the best choice for adult smokers, many do not.

“Therefore Malaysian consumers deserve to receive accurate information that allows them to make a better choice than continued cigarette smoking,” he said.

Presently IQOS is the first and only electronic nicotine product to be granted marketing orders through the USFDA’s MRTP process. It can be sold with information such as the IQOS system heats tobacco but does not burn it, and significantly reduces the production of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals.

According to Philip Morris International (PMI), scientific studies have shown that switching completely from conventional cigarettes to the IQOS system reduces the body’s exposure to harmful or potentially harmful chemicals.

The USFDA also concluded that the available scientific evidence demonstrates that IQOS is expected to benefit the health of the population as a whole, taking into account both users of tobacco products and persons who do not currently use tobacco products.

PMI chief executive officer Andre Calantzopoulos also hailed the USFDA’s decision as a “historic public health milestone”.

“Many of the tens of millions of American men and women who smoke today will quit — but many will not. The decision makes it possible to inform these adults that switching completely to IQOS is a better choice than continuing to smoke.

“IQOS is a fundamentally different product than combustible cigarettes and must be regulated differently, as the USFDA 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,” he said.

Calantzopoulos cited the decision by the US agency as an important example of how governments and public health organizations can regulate smoke-free alternatives to differentiate them from cigarettes in order to promote public health.

“The best choice for health is to never start smoking or to quit altogether. For those who do not quit, the best thing they can do is switch to a scientifically substantiated smoke-free product.

“As of March 31, PMI estimates that approximately 10.6 million adult smokers around the world have already stopped smoking and switched to IQOS. We believe that this decision can help to further accelerate the transition of adults in the US away from cigarettes,” he said.

Calantzopoulos added the USFDA’s decision is a result of PMI’s ongoing commitment to put science at the forefront as we continue on our quest to replace cigarettes with smoke-free alternatives as quickly as possible.

“Harnessing innovations like IQOS to dramatically speed-up the decline in cigarette smoking is the opportunity of this century.

“Comprehensive, science-based regulation can help to rapidly shift adult smokers who would otherwise continue smoking to better options, while simultaneously guarding against unintended consequences,” he said.

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