FDA Panel Votes To Mostly Deny Philip Morris IQOS Marketing Claims

Philip Morris, which owns such tobacco brands as Marlboro, wants to market its relatively new (launched in 2014) heat-not-burn device, the IQOS — an alternative to cigarettes that heats tobacco sticks instead of burning them like a cigarette — as a less harmful alternative to cigarettes.

While it might be exactly that, a less harmful alternative to cigarettes, a panel of FDA advisers on the marketing of the IQOS voted against allowing Philip Morris to market the device as a safer alternative to conventional cigarettes. The panel, whose vote is non-binding, cited their own doubts of the findings of the company’s studies – findings which push the general notion that their new heat-not-burn (HNB) product, the IQOS, is indeed safer than smoking conventional cigarettes.

The FDA still has the option to lean in either direction when it comes to deciding whether or not to approve or deny the company’s marketing claims for the IQOS.

Deborah Ossip with the University of Rochester’s public health department, one of the nine-member FDA advisory panel’s panelists, voted against allowing the company to make such claims as she believed it to be “premature to make such a claim,” the National Post reported.

“I voted no because, based on the evidence presented to us, it was premature to make such a claim.”

While the panel mostly voted against Philip Morris International’s claims, it did vote in favor of one: that IQOS exposes users switching from cigarettes to less harmful chemicals.

The FDA itself released a preliminary review of the IQOS in which they found the IQOS, which Israel recently imposed a 65 percent tax on, to likely be far less harmful than conventional cigarettes.

The IQOS, while a vaporizer of sorts, is classified by some as a heat-not-burn product. It differs from the typical e-cigarette in the sense the while e-cigs are designed to heat liquid blends, sometimes infused with nicotine, it’s actually designed for dry tobacco sticks, not liquids. The company believes it to be a closer experience to smoking cigarettes than puffing on an e-cig.

The company has vowed to address the FDA advisory panel’s concerns.

If the FDA rules in favor of the company’s claims, it would make the IQOS the very first “reduced risk” tobacco product sanctioned by the U.S. government.

In other IQOS related news, Ducati is reportedly expected to finalize an advertising deal with Philip Morris that would result in the company’s IQOS logo being splashed on the livery of their bikes in the upcoming MotoGP.

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