The experts at the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) have reviewed the IQOS tobacco heating device. Their goal? To determine whether or not Philip Morris should be authorized to say that the IQOS is less harmful than cigarettes. Unfortunately for Big Tobacco, the FDA disagrees.
The tobacco company that helped developed the famous tobacco heating system was hoping to sell it in the USA with a label stating that the device is less harmful than traditional cigarettes. This is not the case, because members of the FDA commission do not believe Philip Morris has proven this in any way. It is worth noting, however, that for the time being, the FDA decision is only advisory.
The company’s request was based on a study indicating that IQOS, which heats tobacco, does not create smoke. Consequently, inhaling toxic substances normally found in tobacco would be less harmful. However, multiple university studies (especially in Switzerland) have contested the conclusions of the cited study.
For their part, and while FDA experts did find that IQOS users were exposed to fewer toxins, Philip Morris has not proven the proposed health benefits. A study carried about by Reuters journalists also found that clinical trials carried about by PMI for the FDA contained numerous irregularities.
Immediate consequences for Philip Morris
Following this announcement, Philp Morris International’s shares dropped 6.8% before rising slightly in subsequent days. Altria, the company responsible for distributing the device, saw their shares drop by 2%.
These losses may become much more significant if the FDA decide to ban the sale of IQOS in the USA. A decision that should be made in in the following months.