Altria formally launched Philip Morris International’s (PMI) IQOS heat-not-burn device in the United States on Friday.
The product debuted in Atlanta, Georgia, where Altria has opened an IQOS store with tall glass windows and light wood.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the product’s sale in the U.S. in April, setting strict marketing guidelines aimed at ensuring only adult smokers use IQOS.
Access to the IQOS store is strictly controlled. Customers have to show identification and declare whether they currently smoke cigarettes. Nonsmokers and those under 21 are turned away, according to Altria.
People can test the IQOS in a “guided trial room.” A bundle containing the holder and 200 “heatstick” consumables retails for $80.
The IQOS marketing authorization requires Altria to keep detailed records and send the FDA quarterly reports on its sales, including details like demographic data on its customers and how many have switched to IQOS from cigarettes or use both products.
The company must also send an annual report with more granular information, including any reports of adverse experiences.
Wells Fargo Securities said IQOS holds a distinct competitive advantage in the U.S. given that it’s the only reduced-risk product authorized by the FDA that will also be allowed to sell mint/menthol flavors in the event the FDA clears the market of nontobacco flavor variants.
Mint and menthol flavors are believed to be instrumental in helping smokers switch from cigarettes to reduced-risk products.