The smoke-free electronic device IQOS, which is quite popular in Cyprus, has been authorised by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for market distribution.
It is already distributed all around Cyprus. However, the device is controversial, and is not accepted by anti-smoking authorities.
Many Cypriots purchase the specific electronic device as an attempt to quit smoking, and some do, while others end up smoking more.
“I feel so much better ever since I started using it. I stopped coughing and my clothes don’t smell like smoke” Andreas Papachristophoru, who has been using IQOS for about a year told the Cyprus Mail.
While, Natalie Soteriou commented: “I don’t think I will quit smoking. I am using IQOS, vape and smoking tobacco.”
Manufacturer Philip Morris calls it the next step in smoking, and urges us to “leave smoke behind.”
“There’s no shortage of reasons to love your IQOS. IQOS has real tobacco, free from fire, ash and smoke and delivers cigarette like satisfaction without the cigarette like smell. IQOS is the better alternative to smoking cigarettes.”
With IQOS, no tobacco burns so no smoke is produced, the heating of tobacco with IQOS produces an aerosol that dissipates more quickly. For the FDA, it’s a “modified risk tobacco product (MRTP).
“Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the marketing of Philip Morris Products S.A.’s “IQOS Tobacco Heating System,” the FDA statement says.
“Through the modified risk tobacco product application process, the FDA aims to ensure that information directed at consumers about reduced risk or reduced exposure from using a tobacco product is supported by scientific evidence and understandable,” said Mitch Zeller, J.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.
But the FDA explains that an MRTP is not risk-free.
“This marks the second set of products ever to be authorized as MRTPs and the first tobacco products to receive “exposure modification” orders, which permits the marketing of a product as containing a reduced level of or presenting a reduced exposure to a substance or as being free of a substance when the issuance of the order is expected to benefit the health of the population. Importantly, the authorisation for these products requires the company to conduct postmarket surveillance and studies to determine whether the MRTP orders continues to be appropriate, including assessing the potential for increased use among youth,” the FDA warned.
Nonetheless, the Cyprus National Addictions Authority warned against the product. The local addictions authority however, has their own take on the matter.
“It’s just killing you slower, the Authority said.”
Specifically, the IQOS system heats tobacco but does not burn it and “this significantly reduces the production of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals” FDA said on Tuesday.
“Scientific studies have shown that switching completely from conventional cigarettes to the IQOS system significantly reduces your body’s exposure to harmful or potentially harmful chemicals” the authority added.
Even with this action, these products are not safe nor “FDA approved”.
The authority presented an allegory among speeding vehicles to explain the difference between traditional smoking vs e-cigarettes.
“It’s similar to having two vehicles driving towards you. The first one runs on 100km per hour and the second with 70km per hour. The result is going to be the same” said the official Nectarios Vrachimis to Cyprus Mail.
Vrachimis explained that locals are under the false impression they can quit smoking by using smoke-free products, however, he claims that this is not the case.
“You basically substitute one addiction with another” he said. “It is viewed as doing less damage but apart from nicotine those products have other harmful substances.”