US: Approves more IQOS flavours - bans traditional e-liquids

USA. More and more heat-not-burn products are being authorised for the US market. At the same time, authorities are continuously banning the majority of traditional e-liquids for e-cigarettes, reports the online magazine Filter.

Three new flavours of Heets, the modified tobacco used in Philip Morris' IQOS heat-not-burn system, were recently approved for sale in the US. This follows an extensive review in which the FDA requires evidence that the products are appropriate to protect public health. 

Uncertain research on IQOS

Heated tobacco is likely to have harm reduction effects for smokers, but according to the UK health authorities, who are leading the way in tobacco harm reduction research, the technology is not as proven as traditional e-cigarettes using e-liquid. Traditional vejping reduces, according to the British Health Authority, risks of harm from nicotine use by almost 95 per cent.

The chances of quitting smoking also increase significantly if smokers use e-cigarettes, according to UK authorities. The NHS recommends therefore e-cigarettes, alongside traditional nicotine medicines, in smoking cessation. However, UK authorities are cautious when it comes to IQOS and heat-not-burn products.

"There is currently no convincing clinical evidence that heat-not-burn technology helps smokers to quit smoking. However, there is moderate evidence that heat-not-burn products reduce the amount of hazardous substances inhaled by the user compared to cigarette smoke," writes the British health authority in its report. "Vaping in England - 2022"

Has effect on cigarette sales

Although heat-not-burn products are relatively unproven by independent research, they have likely had effect on the tobacco market in some parts of the world. This is especially true in countries where traditional e-cigarettes with nicotine are not available due to some kind of ban, according to FilterMag. 

"In Japan, where e-liquid with nicotine is not allowed to be sold, cigarette sales have fallen by 46% in favour of IQOS." writes the newspaper.

"Tobacco companies benefit from the FDA"

The decision to approve the new flavours for IQOS has drawn attention to the FDA's approach to regulating e-cigarettes. In order to get an alternative nicotine product approved for sale in the US, individual companies have to pay for expensive studies and prove that the products do not risk attracting young non-smokers.

Tobacco products such as snus and heat-not-burn variants pass the tests. At the same time not a single e-liquid (or e-cigarette) that does not have a "tobacco" flavour profile has been approved by the agency. Since the FDA began reviewing the more than 6 million applications for authorisation submitted by both large and small vejp companies, only a handful of products have been approved. These are exclusively closed pod systems where all but one model (Njoy) are produced by different tobacco companies.

"The decision will certainly increase the availability of harm reduction alternatives to cigarettes. But it is also a reminder that the current legislation and process favours well-funded manufacturers, mainly those linked to the tobacco industry," writes FilterMag.

Sources for this article:
Office for Health Improvement & Disparities: Nicotine Vaping in England 2022 - evidence update
Article in Filter: FDA Authorises More Heated Tobacco Products, Rejects More Vapes

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