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The FDA approves IQOS. The U.S. vaping community is preparing for an invasion.  

Is JUUL Labs prepared for a major competitor?

After investing years of research and development and billions of dollars, tobacco giants Philip Morris International and Altria Group were granted permission by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to sell its hand-held heat-but-not-burn product within the American borders, according to wsj.com 

Already available internationally, IQOS has been popular in Europe for years.    

The subtle difference between IQOS and rivals is the newcomer to America is not manufactured to burn tobacco and doesn’t produce smoke when inhaled. Instead, IQOS is designed to heat sticks without inducing vapor hits from nicotine-based liquid, wsj.com reported.   

When compared to traditional cigarettes, the FDA cited lower levels of toxic chemicals in IQOS products.  

In a press release, FDA Center for Tobacco Products Director Mitch Zeller explained the agency’s decision.  

“While the authorization of new tobacco products doesn’t mean they are safe, the review process makes certain that the marketing of the products is appropriate for the protection of the public health,” Zeller said. 

Still pending, however, is an FDA ruling on IQOS being marketed to adults as a safer alternative to combustible cigarettes. Philip Morris representatives continue to negotiate with the FDA on different marketing angles, including one that focuses on reducing risks of diseases related to smoking tobacco.  

Owners of about 70 percent of the U.S. market, JUUL could soon be facing more competition from a potential major rival, British American Tobacco’s Glo. The FDA is currently analyzing the product and its market fit. British American Tobacco, which produces the Newport cigarette brand, has yet to apply for vaping-is-safer marketing rights, according to wsj.com 

For those concerned the vaping industry could be in trouble, major international companies are investing major time and money to expand the industry. 

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