Philip Morris asks for U.S. approval to market a tobacco product with modified risk

Philip Morris International, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, wants to market its new tobacco vaporizer called iQOS in the U.S. The company has filed an application to the FDA, which is the first to seek U.S. approval to bring a tobacco product in the U.S. market.

Instead of burning the tobacco, the iQOS heats it electronically to produce vapor, which Philip Morris asserts to have less than 10 percent of the harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke.

“We are encouraged by the timeliness of PM’s first FDA application submission…We continue to believe iQOS is a positive catalyst for both Philip Morris & Altria providing a unique competitive advantage,” Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog wrote in a note.

If approved, it could bring significant marketing advantage to company’s iQOS device, as well as other alternatives to tobacco products, including e-cigarettes that still can’t make such a claim.

In the U.S., tobacco companies aren’t allowed to make health-related claims without FDA authorization.

As cigarette smoking in developed countries has decreased, most of the tobacco companies are now investing in tobacco alternatives.

Philip Morris is currently selling the device in Japan, Switzerland, and Italy, and in some cities in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, Russia, Portugal and Ukraine without a reduced harm claim.

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