Action On IQOS Demonstrates Urgent Need for Reform
18 May 2017
Ministry’s Action On IQOS Demonstrates Urgent Need for Reform
AUCKLAND – The Ministry of Health’s decision to take action against Philip Morris New Zealand over the sale of its smoke-free heated tobacco product demonstrates the urgent need for comprehensive reform so that smokers can switch from cigarettes to smoke-free alternatives including heated tobacco products.
General Manager of Philip Morris New Zealand Jason Erickson said the company firmly believed it would be helping to advance the Government’s goal of securing a smoke free New Zealand when it introduced its signature smoke-free product IQOS to New Zealand last year.
IQOS is an electronic device that heats tobacco sticks called HEETS to generate a nicotine vapour instead of smoke. Philip Morris launched IQOS and HEETS in New Zealand in December 2016 as part of the company’s global commitment to replacing conventional cigarettes with smoke-free alternatives.
Mr Erickson said the company is confident that the sale of IQOS and HEETS fully complies with the Smoke-Free Environments Act (1990) and other relevant legislation in New Zealand.
“The section of the law referenced by the Ministry in its action against Philip Morris was originally put in place in the 1990s to address American-style chewing tobacco,” Mr Erickson said.
“We stand behind IQOS and HEETS,” Mr Erickson said. “But it’s clear that old 20th century laws are not sufficient to address new 21st century technologies that New Zealand smokers are embracing as they move away from combustible cigarettes.”
The New Zealand Government announced in March that it would legalise the sale and supply of nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquid, and establish a pathway to enable emerging tobacco and nicotine-delivery products to be sold lawfully as consumer products.
“We support New Zealand’s Smokefree 2025 goal,” Mr Erickson said. “Philip Morris looks forward to working with government to ensure IQOS and HEETS are fully understood in the context of the regulations being developed for e-cigarettes and emerging tobacco and nicotine-delivery products.”
IQOS is available in in more than 20 countries around the world, including the UK, Japan, Italy and Switzerland. Globally more than two million smokers have switched to IQOS and the company has plans to expand to key cities in 30 countries by the end of 2017.