The Food and Drug Administration cleared Philip Morris International’s iQOS — a heat-not-burn tobacco device designed as an alternative to conventional cigarettes — for sale in the United States.

The product consists of a tube that gently heats up sticks of tobacco instead of burning them, making what’s inhaled less harmful. Philip Morris has made the device a key part of its future growth. The device is already sold in dozens of other countries with varying success, but it has triggered debate among U.S. health experts over whether iQOS would help or hurt overall public health.

The FDA, in announcing the decision, said clearing the sale of the devices was “appropriate” for public health because “the products produce fewer or lower levels of some toxins than combustible cigarettes.” The agency also said it has placed stringent marketing restrictions on the products in an effort to prevent minors from using the device.

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Laurie McGinley and William Wan – Washington Post – April 30, 2019.

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