Tobacco company Philip Morris has picked Atlanta as the spot to launch its latest product. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of the IQOS Tuesday.
The agency calls IQOS “an electronic device that heats tobacco-filled sticks wrapped in paper to generate a nicotine-containing aerosol.”
But the greenlight comes with certain marketing restrictions. The agency won’t allow Philip Morris to target ads to teenagers and says it will track how much young people use the product.
“The FDA is putting in place post-market requirements aimed at, among other things, monitoring market dynamics such as potential youth uptake,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.
The FDA also did not say IQOS is safe, but that it could help smokers move away from combustible cigarettes.
Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris, bills IQOS as an alternative to cigarettes, but the FDA still does not approve such alternatives, like e-cigarettes, as smoking cessation products.
And studies, such as one released in 2018 from Georgia State University, suggest that people who use e-cigarettes are no more likely to quit smoking cigarettes than those who don’t.
Philip Morris says it plans to test marketing and sales strategies in Atlanta because of the area’s “several hundred thousand” adult smokers but will work to minimize youth exposure to the IQOS product.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illness and death in the U.S. and costs billions of dollars each year.
The agency says tobacco use rates in the southeast are among the highest in the country.