Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Co. (PMFTC) is opening its first four IQOS stores in Manila, reports The Manilla Standard.
While the heat-not-burn product has been available in the Philippines through several retail outlets since April, the opening of the stores marks a significant step towards achieving the company’s vision of a smoke-free future, according to PMFTC President Denis Gorkun.
“PMFTC’s vision is to help adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke to move away from cigarettes as quickly as possible and switch to a better alternative,” Gorkun said.
PMFTC parent company Philip Morris International has invested more than $7 billion in research, development and production capabilities to create smoke-free products such as IQOS, which are now available in several countries.
In July, the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) authorized the marketing of IQOS and heat sticks in the U.S. with a reduced exposure claim adding that such issuance is appropriate for the promotion of public health.
Gorkun said the FDA decision shows that IQOS is a fundamentally different tobacco product compared to cigarettes and a better choice for adults who would otherwise continue smoking.
About 60 percent of Filipino adult smokers are willing to try smoke-free alternatives provided they are made commercially available and meet quality production standards, according to a study commissioned by PMFTC.
PMFTC said IQOS is aimed at adult smokers. The company is implementing age verification and access restriction to ensure that only legal age consumers 21 years old and above will have access to the stores, the e-commerce website and the IQOS products.