Late last week Philip Morris International, the maker of the IQOS products, announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorised the marketing of IQOS as a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP).
In doing so, the agency found that an IQOS exposure modification order is appropriate to promote the public health. The FDA authorised the marketing of IQOS with the following information:
- The IQOS System heats tobacco but does not burn it
- This significantly reduces the production of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals
- Scientific studies have shown that switching completely from conventional cigarettes to the IQOS system reduces your body’s exposure to harmful or potentially harmful chemicals.
What does the FDA authorisation means for Mzansi?
If anything, the decision by the FDA confirms and highlights the fact that all tobacco and nicotine-containing products are not the same. Policy and regulation in South Africa should reflect this.
We reached out to PMI for comment on this and this what they had to say:
We encourage the South African government to follow a science-based approach in their policy-making. Today almost 11 million adults in South Africa smoke. While quitting tobacco and nicotine altogether is their best choice, most don’t. Adopting a similar regulatory approach to the U.S. FDA by recognising that tobacco products exist on a continuum of risk will allow adult smokers to have access to and receive information about a product that is a better choice than continuing to smoke cigarettes.