PMI’s e-cigarette innovation leads to decreased tobacco smoking in Japan by 9.5% per year

Introduced in 2015, Phillip Morris International (PMI’s) new smokeless cigarette invention, the ‘IQOS’, is gaining more popularity as evidenced in Japan where tobacco cigarette sales in Japan decreased at an accelerated pace after the introduction on the international market of the leading electrically heated tobacco product.

PMI can now attest that scientific studies since the innovation was launched, showed that switching completely from conventional cigarettes to IQOS system significantly reduces the body’s exposure to harmful chemicals.

Quoting a recent independent study conducted for the American Cancer Society, the survey indicates that tobacco cigarette sales had been declining in Japan by around 1.8% per year prior to the
introduction, “but this accelerated to 9.5% per year following its introduction”.

“The authors of the study concluded it was the introduction of our heated tobacco product which likely reduced cigarette sales in Japan,” says the survey’s narrative.

The IQOS product

“Recognizing the role that science-backed, smoke-free products can play in moving adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke away from cigarettes, combined with the right regulatory encouragement and support from society, we can collectively deliver a smoke-free future.”

It is emphasized that adult smokers should have access to accurate information about smoke-free alternatives, saying the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that they are approximately 1.1 billion smokers in the world today — and “there will still be this many in 2025”.

A question is is asked: “In any given year, roughly one out of every 10 people who smoke cigarettes will quit — what about the nine out of 10 men and women who will continue to smoke?”

The answer is that “without accurate information about and access to scientifically substantiated better alternatives to continued smoking, these adult smokers will likely continue to use nicotine in the most harmful way —smoking”.

“Tobacco regulations in some countries treat all products that contain tobacco and nicotine the same. This can result in adult smokers being unaware of and/or unable to access smoke-free alternatives, leaving them without the opportunity to make an informed decision.

“Four in five people across the world agree that change is needed. But factual and non-misleading information is not always readily available. There is no doubt that the best choice a smoker can make is to quit tobacco and nicotine completely.”

The campaign is dubbed ‘Unsmoke Your Mind’ which encourages that adults who do not quit completely can find smoke-free alternatives a much better choice than continued smoking, saying: “Adult smokers need to be allowed to know that better alternatives exist. They need to be able to learn about, and have access to, these alternatives — whichever country they reside in.

“If adult smokers have access to accurate information about smoke-free alternatives they will have the opportunity to make an informed decision.”

During a webinar conference in 2020 organised by Food & Drug Law Institute (FDLI), the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center Director, Mitchell Zeller added credence to PMI’s ‘IQOS’, saying the FDA authorized it to be marketed and sold as a modified risk tobacco product (MRTP).

He had said: “The tobacco products received ‘exposure modification’ orders, which permits the marketing of a product as containing a reduced level of or presenting a reduced exposure to a substance or as being free of a substance when the issuance of the order is expected to benefit the health of the population.”

In cognizance of this new invention, PMI — one of Malawi’s biggest buyers of tobacco, is now ranked second in the world as a tobacco company that is reducing tobacco harm, lowering health risks and mitigating the world’s smoking burden.

This ranking was published in the newly-introduced Tobacco Transformation Index, that is set to be providing comprehensive metrics and insights into how some of world’s 15 largest tobacco companies are deploying (or not deploying) their capital and other resources in pursuit of reducing tobacco harm, lowering health risks and mitigating the world’s smoking burden.

The Tobacco Transformation Index ranks Swedish Match — which divested its cigarette business in 1999 — in first position; PMI in second and British American Tobacco in third.

In July 2020, the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorised PMI’s innovative response aimed at reducing tobacco harm by inventing a smokeless cigarette smoking gadget named IQOS.

The smokeless cigarette innovation also bring a new ray of hope to the African tobacco industry in which PMI buys its tobacco from, including Malawi — whose earnings from the green gold has sharply declined in recent years.

Zeller also announced that in December 2019, FDA authorized the marketing of two combustible, filtered cigarettes manufactured by 22nd Century Group Inc.

The cigarettes contained reduced amount of nicotine compared to other commercial cigarettes as appropriate for the protection of public health.

The products from the two companies will help to reduce nicotine dependence in addicted smokers and that non-smokers, especially the youths, are also unlikely to start using the products.

“Non-smokers who experiment are less likely to become addicted that people who experiment with conventional cigarettes,” Zeller had said.

All this is a global campaign to protect youths from being addicted to smoking in which the initiated the amendment of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act which the US President signed — approving raising the federal minimum age of sale of tobacco products for youths from 18 to 21 years.

Effective December 19, 2019, retailers must not sell any tobacco products — including cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, hookah tobacco, cigars, pipes, electronic nicotine delivery systems including e-cigarettes and e-liquids — to anyone under 21 years of age.

Every retailer is mandated to follow this law and take measures to ensure an individual purchasing a tobacco product is over 21 by including checking national IDs when needed.

Adding to this, the FDA also made a new regulation that, from March 2020, all cigarette manufacturers are required to display distinct health warnings on the cigarette packaging and in advertisements to promote greater public understanding of the negative health consequences of cigarette smoking.

Beginning October 16, 2021, the warnings were required to appear prominently on cigarette packages and in advertisements — occupying the top 50% of the area of the front and rear panels of the packages and occupying the top 20% of the area at the top of the advertisements.

All this is to deter people from smoking in PDA’s public health protection campaign to reduce tobacco harm — especially on the youths.

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