Are 'Heat-Not-Burn' Tobacco Products Safer Than Cigarettes?

  • Are 'Heat-Not-Burn' Tobacco Products Safer Than Cigarettes?

Are 'Heat-Not-Burn' Tobacco Products Safer Than Cigarettes?

Height Securities analyst Stefanie Miler lists some solid reasons why the firm is still "bullish" on the prospects that Philip Morris International (NYSE:PM) will land FDA approval to market IQOS as less harmful than normal cigarettes.

The votes Thursday by the panel of Food and Drug Administration advisers on the marketing of the iQOS device are nonbinding. Panel members voted on a series of questions about the device and were almost unanimousinopposing the claim that switching from cigarettes to IQOS could cut smokers' risk of tobacco-related disease. "Ultimately, we think the chances for the FDA to approve PM's MRTP are still good, but timing is tough to predict", Herzog added.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has already indicated that he wants to drive down smoking rates by making traditional cigarettes less addictive via cutting nicotine in them and offering U.S. consumers safer alternatives to smoking. It is used by almost four million people in 30 markets outside the United States but needs FDA authorisation to be marketed in America.

Philip Morris has been highlighting its experience in Japan - one of the countries where IQOS was first introduced - as an example of the impact the product could have. Some of the data is included in the company's application. He said it could amend the application and the panel's recommendation does not rule out an ultimate approval. PMI says it has found exclusively using iQOS significantly lowers users' risk of harm than if they were to continue smoking cigarettes.

For a Reuters investigation on Philip Morris's clinical trials of iQOS, see (graphic). However, it voted against the idea that reductions in exposure are reasonably likely to translate to a measurable and substantial reduction in morbidity and or mortality.

The FDA report questioned whether the company's studies on the noncancerous toxicological effects of iQos were adequate to measure the effects of chronic use, and raised concern over any potential benefit, given that testing showed users tended to use both iQos and cigarettes, rather than switch completely to iQos. He said the panellists "disconnected themselves from the facts in favour of ideology".

"I haven't smoked a single cigarette for two and a half weeks", said Etrata, visiting a retail store in downtown London where Philip Morris sells the device.

The FDA hasn't approved any of the dozens of so-called "modified risk tobacco product" applications it has received. There is no time frame for when that decision might come.

The FDA will still review and OK the device and how it's marketed; it's already sold outside of the United States. Altria shares closed 2.3 per cent lower on Thursday at $69.91.