The U.S. Administration for Food & Drugs (FDA) has given the green light for a new electronic device for tobacco, on Tuesday, although the device is yet to be deemed safe by the agency. Unlinevape or e-cigarette that is now the rage, Philip Morris’ (PMI) iQOS heats sticks filled with tobacco and paper-wrapped to produce an aerosol that contains nicotine – without combustion.
Pleased with the decision from the FDA, PMI calls it a milestone and hopes to distribute and market IQOS, first in Atlanta, within 3 to 4 months.
A rigorous scientific study led the agency to decide that the device might be in the interest of the public with lesser toxins that cigarette smoke and those found were at relatively lower levels. But critics remain concerned as to whether such reviews are funded by the invested companies themselves.
Many health advocates also raised concerns about the product spreading among young kids, similar to vapes like Juul. Matthew L Myers, who presides over a Campaign for Kids to remain Tobacco-Free, says without rigid oversight from the FDA, IQOS poses a serious threat to become another Juul, worsening the current epidemic. He said PMI’s promotional campaigns in other countries through fashion shows and beach parties are naturally steering kids their way.
CEOs of the Lung Association and Truth Initiative also voiced their concerns over the new device for nicotine delivery and insisted careful monitoring of the use of the product.
FDA Director of Center for Tobacco, Mitch Zeller, reassures that it will be keeping a close tab on what happens in the marketplace, including the way the product is marketed, appropriate label warnings as well as there is an upward trend in its purchase by youth. Any untoward scenarios could even call for the reversal of their decision.
In an exclusive contract with PMI, a company broken off from it – Altria – will be distributing IQOS.