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Court dismisses Health Ministry’s case against Philip Morris

MEDIA RELEASE

Court dismisses Ministry of Health’s case against Philip Morris

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – [27/03/2018] – Philip Morris (New Zealand) Limited (PMNZ) today welcomed the Wellington District Court’s judgment that confirms the legality of HEETS, a heated tobacco product specifically designed for use with IQOS, for commercial sale in New Zealand.

Following a three-day trial earlier this month, the Court today dismissed the case brought by the Ministry of Health, concluding that HEETS are not captured by Section 29 of New Zealand’s Smoke-Free Environment Act’s ban on tobacco products for chewing or any other oral use.

In explaining his decision, Judge Peter J Butler agreed with Philip Morris’s argument that Section 29 was never intended to apply to a product such as HEETS, and that banning the product would be the opposite of what Parliament sought to achieve when passing the Smoke-Free Environment Act.

Philip Morris New Zealand General Manager, Jason Erickson, said: “We welcome the Court’s decision. This case does, however, highlight the need for urgent reform of regulations surrounding e-cigarettes and other smokeless tobacco products.”

“To achieve the Smokefree 2025 goal, men and women who smoke in New Zealand need freely available information and access to a range of better alternatives to cigarettes, including nicotine-containing electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products such as HEETS,” he said.

“Regulations should give all players – including small and local businesses – the ability to compete in the marketplace and accelerate conversion away from cigarettes to potentially less harmful alternatives such as IQOS and HEETS.”

IQOS, developed by PMNZ’s parent company Philip Morris International (PMI), is an electronic device that heats specifically designed tobacco sticks, branded as HEETS, to produce a nicotine-containing aerosol. As IQOS heats but does not burn the tobacco, it generates significantly lower levels of harmful and potentially harmful compounds than those found in cigarette smoke. PMI has conducted extensive studies on IQOS. Evidence to date clearly indicates that switching completely to IQOS – while not risk-free - is likely to present less risk of harm than continued smoking.

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