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Philip Morris Applies To Market Alternative Cigarette

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Philip Morris International Inc. has filed an application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market a new type of cigarette that holds potentially less health risks than conventional cigarettes.

The Tobacco company has submitted a long anticipated Modified Risk Tobacco Product or MRTP application with the FDA for its electronically heated tobacco product. The new type of cigarette electronically heats tobacco to produce a vapor without burning it, making it less harmful.

The company reportedly claims the vapor to have less than 10 percent of the harmful chemicals found in traditional cigarette smoke. The FDA will need to verify the claim as part of its review of the application that could take more than a year. PMI expects that the FDA would take a minimum of 60 days to complete an administrative review to determine whether to accept the application for substantive review.

The company's application is said to be the first to seek U.S. approval to market such product. If approved, PMI's iQOS device would have a significant marketing advantage over alternatives to tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes.

Once getting the clearance, Altria Group Inc., the parent of Philip Morris USA, is said to be holding exclusive rights to sell it in the United States under a licensing deal.

At present, Philip Morris International sells the product without reduced harm claims in several countries, including Japan and Switzerland, and in some cities in the UK and Germany.

According to Bloomberg, more than 1 million smokers have switched to iQOS since it first went on sale in 2014.

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