Marlboro fame manufacturer Altria couldn’t have found a better timing than now for the launch of its new product Iqos in the U.S. The country is still reeling under the impact of the vaping crisis with 18 deaths being reported due to a lethal lung disease supposedlycaused by vaping.
The new product was approved for sale by FDA in April under stringent marketing guidelinesand its formal launch for the Atlanta market took place on Friday. The product was under development since the last ten years when the companies, Philip Morris International and Altria were together. Now marketing of Iqos will be done in the U.S. by Altria via a licensing agreement with the spin-off company PMI.
The device gives smokers the cigarette experience minus the harmful toxins as its process involves the heating of actual tobacco instead of the burning process that occurs in regular cigarettes. Altria aims to target about 20 million smokers in search of alternative options in the U.S.
The company plans to sell their product only after vetting the buyer for being an adult and a smoker and has stated that all their online orders will have to be collected from stores for ensuring verification. Testing of the device can be done in trial rooms under guidance.
A heatstickcontaining the tobacco has to be inserted in the holder and heating starts with the click of a button. Aerosol is produced thereafter. A bundle of 200 heat-sticks along with the holder is priced at $80.Marketing regulations will be similar to the ones for cigarettes. A lot of information and feedback will have to be furnished by Altria to the FDA for monitoring purposes.
Findings from FDA’s review of the product reveals lesser toxic content in the aerosol that is generated though for PMI to declare that it is less harm causing than cigarettes will still require FDA’s permission.Regulators are grappling with the teen vaping epidemic that has struck the country and hence they are treading carefully with regard to all like products.