US-based cigarette maker Philip Morris has urged the Indian government to create a regulatory environment for scientifically substantiated smoke-free alternatives.
Philip Morris said in a statement that the US Food and Drug Administration recently certified that IQOS, its electrically heated tobacco system, is appropriate for the protection of public health and is authorised for sale in the US.
IQOS is a pen-like electronic device that includes an electronically controlled heating blade that warms a tobacco stick and releases a vapour with the taste of tobacco but fewer harmful chemicals than cigarette smoke.
The multinational company said it hopes a regulatory environment is also created in India, after the certification, where a variety of scientifically substantiated smoke-free alternatives can be made accessible.
"Hopefully the Indian government can one day create a regulatory environment where a variety of scientifically substantiated smoke-free alternatives can be made accessible to the more than 100 million adult smokers in India," Alexander Reisch, managing director, wholesale trading, of India Philip Morris was quoted as saying in a statement.
"The FDA order sets out clear commercialisation guidelines, including marketing requirements, that maximize the opportunity for adults to switch from cigarettes, while minimising unintended use. We fully support this objective, and would welcome the opportunity to engage with the Indian authorities to develop a set of similar high standards for commercialisation of such products in India, which will ensure that these products reach only the right audience current adult smokers," Reisch said.
"The decision to authorize IQOS in the US is an important step forward for the approximately 40 million American men and women who smoke. Some will quit. Most won't, and for them IQOS offers a smoke-free alternative to continued smoking," he added.
The company said it is building a "future on a new category of smoke-free products that, while not risk-free, are a much better choice than continuing to smoke".