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Following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) April 2019 authorisation on their premarket tobacco product application,1 Philip Morris (PM) has officially launched its heated tobacco product, IQOS, in the USA in October 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. IQOS consists of a charger and a holder, into which tobacco sticks, called ‘HeatSticks’ in the USA, are inserted (figure 1). The blade in the holder heats tobacco in a HeatStick, producing an aerosol. Prior to the US launch, IQOS was available in 43 countries. PM has also submitted to the FDA a modified risk tobacco product application for IQOS (decision pending).
IQOS store experience
As of December 2019, two shopping mall-based IQOS flagship stores, seven mobile stores that were generally located in convenience store parking lots and six pop-up stores (‘IQOS Corners’) located inside convenience stores were open in and around the city of Atlanta (figure 2). Each of these locations features employees who can provide personal guided trials and have both the devices and, except for IQOS Corners, HeatSticks available for purchase. In addition, HeatSticks are being sold at 385 retail points, such as convenience stores (eg, RaceTrac), grocery stores (eg, Kroger) and pharmacies (eg, Walgreens). To get into the IQOS flagship stores or mobile locations, shoppers need to have their driver’s licence scanned by an employee at the door. If the shopper has already completed a profile with PM USA, it is retrieved immediately. Then, the shoppers are asked if they are cigarette smokers. Shoppers who state they are not cigarette smokers are permitted into the store but are not allowed to sample HeatSticks or to purchase IQOS devices or HeatSticks.
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