Philip Morris has just won a major victory: the FDA, America’s regulation agency, has finally authorized the company to sell the IQOS device on American soil. This electronic tobacco-heating device, which uses no combustion, has been available in France since 2017.
The FDA approved the marketing of the IQOS after an in-depth study. Currently, there is no proof that this new type of tobacco product is risk free, but research has shown that the aerosols in the IQOS’ vapor contain far fewer toxic chemicals than traditional cigarette smoke, and the levels of these chemicals are also much lower. Consequently, the FDA has concluded that the IQOS is a good alternative to cigarettes.
The FDA has given the green light to put the IQOS on the market, but there are a few conditions. Philip Morris is not allowed to advertise its product on television or radio, and the product packaging must be submitted to the FDA for approval, with the goal of making sure it does not appear too attractive to young people.
The IQOS, a major financial challenge for Philip Morris
Today, Philip Morris’ IQOS is sold in 40 countries throughout the world, but selling its new product in the USA has become a question of survival for the tobacco giant. In the United States, cigarette sales have never been lower, and diversification has become the name of the game if the company hopes to continue generating profits. The electronic cigarette market in the USA has exploded in the past few years, and mostly thanks to the Juul, which has become alarmingly popular amongst teenagers.
Last year, the sales of vaping devices and related products totaled $4.1 billion, approximately 14% of the total sales of Philip Morris. With the authorization to now market the IQOS in the USA, the American company is hoping to increase this number to between 38% and 42% by 2025.
Nonetheless, the FDA has said it will remain extremely vigilant, keeping a close eye on the IQOS industry to measure the health impact of these new products as well as the consumption levels amongst young people.