Philip Morris International opened today its first four IQOS stores in Metro Manila offering Filipino adult smokers 21 years old and above a smoke-free alternative to cigarettes.
Located at the Eastwood Mall in Libis, Quezon City, SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City, SM Southmall in Las Piñas City, and Estancia Mall in Pasig City, the stores carry IQOS devices, heat sticks and accessories.
IQOS devices use a patented heat-control technology that precisely heats tobacco-filled sticks wrapped in paper, without the burning, to release a water-based aerosol – not smoke.
“Opening the first IQOS stores in the Philippines is a significant step towards achieving our vision of a smoke-free future. PMFTC’s vision is 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 said Denis Gorkun, President PMFTC Inc., the local affiliate of PMI.
“We see smoke-free products as an opportunity to reduce the smoking incidence in the Philippines for the benefit of the public health and society at large,” Gorkun said.
There are an estimated 16 million smokers in the Philippines, and globally, despite strict tobacco control measures, the World Health Organization estimates that there will still be a billion smokers in 2025, the same level as today.
PMI invested more than USD$7 billion on research, development and production capabilities to create smoke-free products.
Recently, the United States Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) authorized the marketing of IQOS and heat sticks in the US with a reduced exposure claim, adding that its issuance of such order is appropriate for the promotion of public health. IQOS is the first heated tobacco product to receive that exposure modification order in the US.
“The US FDA decision shows that IQOS is a fundamentally different tobacco product compared to cigarettes and a better choice for adults who would otherwise continue smoking,” said Gorkun.
To ensure that only legal age consumers 21 years old and above will have access to the store, the e-commerce website and the tobacco products, Gorkun said, “We are implementing age verification and access restriction. Presentation of a valid government-issued ID is required before any product is handed over to the consumer.”
“The best thing a smoker can do is to quit cigarettes and nicotine products entirely. But the hard reality is there will be adults who would continue to smoke. For those who don’t choose to quit, we now have a product that does not burn tobacco,” PMFTC Communications Director Dave Gomez said.
“Public health experts agree that burning or combustion is the main problem in people getting sick from smoking. Nicotine although not risk-free and is addictive, is not the main cause of smoking-related diseases. It’s the smoke,” Gomez added.
PMFTC research showed that 60 percent of current Filipino adult smokers are willing to try smoke-free alternatives as long as they are made commercially available and meet quality production standards.
Unlike cigarettes, IQOS does not burn tobacco and therefore produces no smoke and no ash. IQOS HeatControl™ Technology heats tobacco instead of burning it to deliver the true taste of real tobacco.
Gorkun said when using IQOS, the aerosol dissipates more quickly than cigarette smoke. “As IQOS produces less lingering smell than cigarettes, it is less likely to bother people around you,” he added.
Last 24 April 2020, HEETS for use with the IQOS device, were made available to legal age users 21 years old and above through select tobacconists/retail stores such as FUMA, Lighters Galore, Green Puff and DJ Shop in Metro Manila. Last August 7, 2020, the heat sticks were also made available in select 7/11 branches in Metro Manila.
On June 5, 2020, the IQOS.COM website was launched where the IQOS devices, as well as the heat sticks and device accessories, were offered.
Committed to ensure that access to the IQOS devices and heat sticks is only limited to adult consumers 21 years old and above who wish to continue using tobacco products or other nicotine-containing products, the IQOS stores practice age verification and adhere to the Good Conversion Practices which is a global standard observed across PMI.
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