PMFTC Inc., the local affiliate of Philip Morris International (PMI), is accelerating its commitment to bring a smoke-free future to the Philippines with the nationwide commercialization of its flagship smoke-free product, IQOS, for Filipino adult smokers 21 years old and above who would otherwise continue to smoke, through its e-commerce website.
The expansion of the IQOS e-commerce distribution covers delivery of heated tobacco devices and heat sticks to key areas in Minadanao including Davao City, General Santos City, Palomok, Cagayan de Oro City, Opol, El Salvador, Tagoloan and Villanueva in Misamis Oriental.
“Making IQOS accessible in key areas across the Philippines will help fast track PMFTC’s commitment towards achieving our vision of a smoke-free future. This is in line with PMI’s goal 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.
PMFTC’s heated tobacco products were initially made available in Metro Manila last year through the IQOS.COM website, the IQOS Stores located in major shopping malls, and select tobacconists/retail stores. Currently carried by select 7/11 branches in the National Capital Region, the heat sticks will also be available at select branches in South and Central Luzon by end of July.
IQOS devices use a patented HeatControl™ Technology that precisely heats, without burning, tobacco-filled sticks wrapped in paper called HEETS™ to release a water-based aerosol. Unlike cigarettes, IQOS does not burn tobacco and therefore produces no smoke and no ash.
Last July 7, 2020, IQOS becomes the first heated tobacco product to receive the exposure modification order from the United States Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) authorizing it to be marketed in the US with a reduced exposure claim, adding that it is “appropriate for the promotion of public health.”
The US FDA decision showed that IQOS is a fundamentally different tobacco product compared to cigarettes as it eliminates combustion.
Mounting scientific evidence show that burning or combustion, not nicotine, is the main cause of smoking-related diseases and deaths. With an estimated 17 million Filipino smokers in the Philippines, more than 117,000 Filipinos die each year due to tobacco smoking. Despite the fact, government data shows in 2015 that the quit rate is at a measly 4 percent which largely remained unchanged since 2009.
Gorkun, however, noted that heated tobacco products are not risk free and that the best option for smokers is still to quit cigarettes and nicotine products. He, however, said that “for adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke, non-combustible alternatives like IQOS are better options.”
IQOS devices and heat sticks are only for adult consumers 21 years old and above who wish to continue using tobacco products or other nicotine-containing products. The IQOS e-commerce website requires age verification upon entry, while presentation of a valid ID is required upon delivery of the product to the consumer.