How the FDA Helped Philip Morris Crush the E-Cig Competition

Philip Morris International's (NYSE:PM) smoke-free future is coming to America. The global cigarette giant plans on marketing its next-generation electronic cigarette in the U.S. next year once it gains FDA approval, but its applications indicate just how much the regulatory agency is helping to protect the interests of the big tobacco companies by crushing the competition. The future of smoking

One of the biggest complaints e-cig users have with the devices currently on the market is taste. Because the typical e-cig heats a nicotine-infused liquid to create a vapor that is inhaled, users say it leaves something of a chemical aftertaste. E-cig usage that had rocketed to annual triple-digit gains after being introduced have suddenly cooled off, and estimates that they would overtake combustible cigarette sales are no longer bandied about.

The iQOS from Philip Morris, though, is an innovative advance for electronic cigarettes. Rather than heat a liquid, the iQOS consists of a rechargeable, pen-like device into which a short, cigarette-looking product is inserted. It is heated just enough to create a tobacco-flavored, nicotine-infused vapor, making it much closer to smoking a regular cigarette, but without the smoke, smell, and toxic chemicals.

Under a framework signed with Altria (NYSE:MO) in 2013 for commercializing e-cigs and other reduced-risk products, the iQOS's rechargeable devices will be marketed as Marlboro HeatSticks. Since they were introduced in Japan earlier this year, the iQOS has jumped to the forefront of the market there, and Philip Morris now wants to take the e-cig global.
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