WASHINGTON, May 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced that it has authorized Philip Morris to market its IQOS heated tobacco product in the United States, with certain marketing restrictions that the FDA said are intended to prevent youth access and exposure. The details of those restrictions and strict FDA enforcement will be critical to ensure IQOS doesn't catch on with kids and become the next Juul. The FDA cannot allow yet another tobacco product to addict kids on its watch.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and our public health partners on multiple occasions have raised concerns with the FDA that Philip Morris International has marketed IQOS in other countries in ways that clearly appeal to kids, including through social media, sponsorships of events like beach parties and fashion shows, and slick stores and kiosks that look like they're selling tech gadgets, not addictive tobacco products. This marketing presents IQOS as a fun lifestyle product, using imagery and themes that will attract kids (see examples of IQOS marketing here and here). If the FDA fails to prevent such tactics in the U.S., there is a serious risk that IQOS will become the next Juul and worsen the current youth epidemic.
Altria's press release on today's announcement already creates reason for concern (Altria's Philip Morris USA subsidiary will market the product in the U.S). Altria stated that IQOS will be launched with a store in Atlanta, presumably like the slick stores in other countries, and that the product will be distributed through 500 retail partners including convenience stores and gas stations where the product will be highly visible to young people.
The FDA must ensure that this product is not marketed to or used by kids and is marketed only to adult smokers.
SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids