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Philip Morris sees six million US smokers switching to iQOS device if cleared

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Health Desk: 30 January 2018: Philip Morris International told a US advisory panel that it expects around 6 million smokers to switch completely to its iQOS electronic tobacco device if the company is allowed to claim it is less risky than cigarettes.

The sleek, penlike iQOS device heats tobacco but does not burn it. The company hopes to convince the US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel that the product contains fewer harmful chemicals than cigarettes and reduces the risk of smoking-related diseases for smokers who switch.

The panel will discuss the company’s application for two days and on Thursday will vote on whether the company’s data supports one of three potential “modified risk” claims that would be used on the product’s label and in marketing.

IQOS is used by nearly 4 million people in 30 markets outside the United States but needs FDA authorization to be marketed in America.

Philip Morris says iQOS produces up to 95 percent fewer potentially harmful chemicals than regular cigarettes. The company said if 15 percent of US daily smokers switched completely to iQOS it would translate to about 6 million smokers over seven to 10 years. The figure does not include smokers who might use iQOS in addition to cigarettes.

Moira Gilchrist, Philip Morris’ vice president of scientific and public communications, estimated that 90,000 smoking-related deaths could have been averted over 20 years based on an assumed switch rate of 15 percent.