Tobacco giant fuming at Australian lawmakers

Philip Morris Australia is calling for Australian policy makers to urgently review the evidence supporting smoke-free products, following this week’s ground-breaking decision in the United States.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorised the sale of Philip Morris International (PMI)’s smoke-free product, IQOS, determining it is “appropriate for the protection of public health”. The decision follows PMI’s 2017 application to the FDA, supported by millions of pages of scientific evidence, including peer-reviewed published literature and other sources.

In welcoming the FDA’s decision to authorise IQOS in the US, Philip Morris Australia Managing Director Tammy Chan said “Our vision as a company is to stop selling cigarettes. We are now one step closer, however, while 40 million American smokers now have the opportunity to give up smoking by switching to a less harmful alternative, Australian smokers are still being denied that option”.

“Australian smokers who don’t quit are essentially condemned to only smoking cigarettes, even though there are less harmful alternatives available elsewhere. The law in Australia only allows the sale of products that produce smoke, which we know is the leading cause of serious illnesses among smokers, such as lung cancer and heart disease.

“Health, is a key issue in this federal election campaign and meaningfully addressing the issue of smoking could go a long way in improving public health in Australia.

“Unlike in the US, there is no process or regulatory mechanism in Australia that would allow us to submit an application for similar review to that conducted by the FDA to allow the sale of specific smoke free products, without additionally requiring a change to the laws governing nicotine-containing products”, Mr Chan said.

“Despite this, we have sent a summary of the scientific evidence presented to the FDA to various health departments across Australia [although] we are not aware of any review being undertaken.

“We have invited public health bodies to discuss our science and the enormous public health opportunity that is before us, but we are yet to receive a response.

“Australia must catch up to the rest of the world and change its laws, as it is the only OECD country other than Turkey to have not moved to make smoke-free products available to adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke”.

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