Altria expands marketing of heat-not-burn deviceBusiness | 28 Jul 2020 10:34 pm
Altria is expanding marketing of a heat-not-burn cigarette alternative, IQOS, to Charlotte, North Carolina, this month.
The company said Tuesday it plans to expand marketing to four more cities over the next year and a half.
Earlier this month federal regulators said IQOS could be marketed to smokers as reducing their exposure to deadly chemicals contained in traditional cigarettes. The electronic IQOS device, which heats cigarette-like sticks of tobacco, is made by Philip Morris International and sold in the U.S. by Altria.
But the FDA denied a broader marketing claim that would have allowed the companies to say that IQOS poses reduced risks to smokers overall. The agency said that conclusion hasn't been established by company research. Regulators emphasized that IQOS is neither safe nor "FDA approved.''
Both Altria and Philip Morris have poured funding into researching and developing alternative tobacco products for smokers who can't or won't quit cigarettes. Despite decades of anti-smoking campaigns, tax hikes and bans, about 14 percent of U.S. adults continue to smoke.
IQOS heats tobacco to temperatures as high as 660 degrees but stops short of burning them. The result is a tobacco-flavored vapor which the FDA said contains lower levels of 15 harmful chemicals contained in cigarette smoke. IQOS differs from electronic cigarettes, which heat a flavored nicotine solution and don't contain tobacco.
Altria has been gradually rolling out IQOS at a handful of specialty shops, including in Atlanta, Richmond, Virginia, and Charlotte.
The IQOS shops resemble stores that sell smartphones or other personal electronics, featuring minimalist furnishings and display tables featuring IQOS devices and accessories. Altria sells colorful IQOS mouth pieces, carrying cases, chargers and ash trays _ referred to as ``disposal trays,'' Altria says, noting the device does not create ash.
Access to the stores is limited to adults 21 and over. Staffers are instructed to turn away adults who are not smokers. The device is not intended for those who have already switched to e-cigarettes or other alternatives to smoking.-AP