Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Philip Morris Gets FDA Approval to Market Its 'Heatsticks' as 'Reduced Exposure'

By Rhian Hunt – Jul 7, 2020 at 12:08PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The sticks are the first tobacco products ever to win FDA “modified risk” status.

In a potential win for international tobacco titan Philip Morris (PM -4.18%), the FDA approved its "heatsticks" and the associated electronic IQOS device for marketing as a "reduced exposure" tobacco product, offering reduced exposure to the substances found in ordinary cigarettes or cigars. The authorization lets Philip Morris advertise the items as safer "modified risk tobacco products," or MRTPs.

Instead of involving actual combustion of tobacco leaves and preservative chemicals in a traditional smoking item such as a cigarette, the IQOS and heatstick system takes a different approach. The user puts a paper-wrapped tobacco "heatstick" into a reusable holder resembling a high-tech cigar, which is then placed in a heater.

The Philip Morris IQOS system.

Image source: Philip Morris.

According to Philip Morris, this device "simultaneously heats the tobacco to temperatures up to 350°C, while monitoring its temperature to ensure consistent taste and to avoid burning." The user then inhales aerosol tobacco vapor, rather than smoke, which is said to ensure "the levels of harmful chemicals are significantly reduced compared to cigarette smoke."

While the heatstick system is not risk-free and still delivers addictive nicotine to the user's body, the FDA approval indicates "reduced risk or reduced exposure from using a tobacco product is supported by scientific evidence." The agency also notes that using heatsticks in place of combustion-based tobacco products could help smokers quit, but cautions it will "closely monitor" the IQOS system, watching to make certain the items "do not cause increased use among youth."

Philip Morris, noted as a strong dividend stock, is down slightly in morning trading today despite the FDA news.

Rhian Hunt has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Philip Morris International Inc. Stock Quote
Philip Morris International Inc.
PM
$91.79 (-4.18%) $-4.00

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
329%
 
S&P 500 Returns
106%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 09/25/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.