The first four stores of IQOS from Philip Morris International opened last Friday, making available a smoke-free alternative to cigarettes for Filipino adult smokers 21-years-old and above who would otherwise wish to continue to smoke or use nicotine-containing products.
PMFTC Inc., an affiliate of PMI, opened its first four IQOS stores in Metro Manila located at the Eastwood Mall in Libis, Quezon City, SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, SM Southmall in Las Piñas City, and Estancia Mall in Pasig City. The stores carry PMI’s line of smoke-free products, the devices, heat sticks, and a full range of accessories.
“Opening the first IQOS stores in the Philippines is a significant step towards achieving our vision of a smoke-free future. PMFTC’s vision is to help adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke to move away from cigarettes as quickly as possible and switch to a better alternative,” PMFTC’s president Denis Gorkun said.
IQOS devices use a patented heat-control technology that precisely heats tobacco-filled sticks wrapped in paper, without the burning, to release a water-based aerosol – not smoke.
PMI is making this happen with an investment of more than USD$7 billion on research, development, and production capabilities to create smoke-free products.
In the United States, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) issued an order on July 7, 2020, authorizing IQOS and heat sticks, to be marketed in the US with a reduced exposure claim, and adding that its issuance of such order is appropriate for the promotion of public health. In the US, IQOS is the first heated tobacco product to receive that exposure modification order.
“The US FDA decision shows that IQOS is a fundamentally different tobacco product compared to cigarettes and a better choice for adults who would otherwise continue smoking,” said Gorkun.
“We see smoke-free products as an opportunity to reduce the smoking incidence in the Philippines for the benefit of the public health and society at large,” Gorkun further said.
“We are implementing age verification and access restriction to ensure that only legal age consumers 21 years old and above will have access to the store, the e-commerce website and the tobacco products. Presentation of a valid government-issued ID is required before any product is handed over to the consumer,” Gorkun added.
There are an estimated 16 million smokers in the Philippines, and globally, despite strict tobacco control measures, the World Health Organization estimates that there will still be a billion smokers in 2025, the same level as today.
“The best thing a smoker can do is to quit cigarettes and nicotine products entirely. But the hard reality is there will be adults who would continue to smoke. For those who don’t choose to quit, we now have a product that does not burn tobacco,” PMFTC Communications Director Dave Gomez said.
“Public health experts agree that burning or combustion is the main problem in people getting sick from smoking. Nicotine although not risk-free and is addictive, is not the main cause of smoking-related diseases. It’s the smoke,” Gomez added.
PMFTC research showed that 60 percent of current Filipino adult smokers are willing to try smoke-free alternatives as long as they are made commercially available and meet quality production standards.
IQOS HeatControl™ Technology heats tobacco instead of burning it to deliver the true taste of real tobacco. Unlike cigarettes, IQOS does not burn tobacco and therefore produces no smoke and no ash.
Gorkun said when using IQOS, the aerosol dissipates more quickly than cigarette smoke. “As IQOS produces less lingering smell than cigarettes, it is less likely to bother people around you,” he added.
Last 24 April 2020, HEETS for use with the IQOS device, were made available to legal age users 21 years old and above through select tobacconists/retail stores such as FUMA, Lighters Galore, Green Puff and DJ Shop in Metro Manila. Last August 7, 2020, the heat sticks were also made available in select 7/11 branches in Metro Manila.
On June 5, 2020, the IQOS.COM website was launched where the IQOS devices, as well as the heat sticks and device accessories, were offered.
Committed to ensuring that access to the IQOS devices and heat sticks is only limited to adult consumers 21 years old and above who wish to continue using tobacco products or other nicotine-containing products, the IQOS stores practice age verification and adhere to the Good Conversion Practices which is a global standard observed across PMI.