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THE INVESTOR

Retail & Consumer

Government to inspect safety of heat-not-burn tobacco system

  • PUBLISHED :July 10, 2017 - 17:31
  • UPDATED :July 10, 2017 - 17:31
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[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s Food Safety Ministry is set to inspect the safety of IQOS, the heat-not-burn tobacco product by Marlboro maker Philip Morris International, according to the ministry on July 10.

The study, to begin in August, is intended to produce an objective analysis of the health risks posed by using PMI’s IQOS system, focusing on the levels of nicotine and tar delivered by the tobacco sticks, according to the ministry.

The IQOS heat-not-burn tobacco system by Philip Morris International. Philip Morris Korea



The tobacco maker had promoted the product as being safer than traditional cigarettes.

“The level of chemicals that appear in the IQOS aerosol are on average more than 90 percent reduced compared to reference cigarette smoke,” Moira Gilchrist, who heads PMI’s communications regarding reduced-risk products including the IQOS, told reporters at a previous press conference in Seoul. The idea is that most of the harmful chemicals inhaled in the smoking process are a result of combustion, and that heat-not-burn products reduce harmful effects by removing burning from the equation.

PMI’s claims were backed by an analysis run by an independent organization called Labstat International ULC, according to the company.

However, there has been controversy surrounding the veracity of those claims. A recent article in JAMA Internal Medicine authored by a research team from the University of Bern in Switzerland said that elements found in regular cigarette smoke such as “volatile organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide were present in IQOS smoke,” as well as 84 percent of the nicotine found in conventional cigarette smoke.

PMI is currently awaiting analysis by the US Food and Drug Administration. A spokeswoman for PMI said that the product had not been independently tested by any of the governments in its 25 markets. 

By Won Ho-jung/The Korea Herald (hjwon@heraldcorp.com)

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