IQOS marketing in the US: The need to study the impact of FDA modified exposure authorization, marketing distribution channels, and potential targeting of consumers

Carla J. Berg*, Lorien C. Abroms, Hagai Levine, Katelyn F. Romm, Amal Khayat, Christina N. Wysota, Zongshuan Duan, Yael Bar-Zeev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

IQOS, the leading heated tobacco product globally, recently received ‘reduced exposure’ authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration. Independent research focusing on IQOS marketing and potential impact on consumers’ perceptions and behavior, and ultimately public health, is critical. The literature to date has underscored several concerns. First, Philip Morris’s (PM’s) marketing distribution requires scrutiny, particularly given its innovative promotional strategies. For example, IQOS is distributed via unique points-of-sale (POS; e.g., specialty and pop-up stores, “corners” in convenience stores) and uses various other opportunities (e.g., social media, sponsored events, direct-to-consumer). Second, although PM claims that IQOS’ target market is current combustible tobacco users and not young people, the literature indicates that in some populations, IQOS use is equally prominent among smokers and nonsmokers, and that specific subgroups (e.g., young adults, women) are targeted. Third, the impact of IQOS’ use of ad content promoting IQOS health benefits must be studied (e.g., how consumers interpret modified exposure messages). In conclusion, surveillance of IQOS marketing, particularly following reduced exposure authorization, is critical for obtaining valuable data to estimate population impact, particularly among population subgroups (e.g., young adults), and inform future tobacco regulation. These considerations have implications beyond IQOS—to other products and companies.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number10551
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - 8 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Heated tobacco products
  • Marketing
  • Tobacco control
  • Tobacco industry

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