PMI’s “marketing standards” prohibit it from promoting tobacco products with youth-oriented celebrities or “models who are or appear to be under the age of 25.” In response to photos sent to the company by Reuters of social media “influencer” Alina Tapilina from Moscow, who is listed as aged 21 on Instagram, PMI said that it has launched an internal investigation.
“We have taken the decision to suspend all of our product-related digital influencer actions globally”
“We have taken the decision to suspend all of our product-related digital influencer actions globally,” PMI told Reuters. “Whilst the influencer in question is a legal age adult smoker, she is under 25 and our guidance called for influencers to be 25+ years of age. This was a clear breach of that guidance.”
“No laws were broken,” added the company, “However, we set high standards for ourselves and these facts do not excuse our failure to meet those standards in this instance.” The company added: “We were deeply disappointed to discover this breach and are grateful that it was brought to our attention.”
US FDA Approves Heat-Not-Burn Devices
Meanwhile following a lengthy review process, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved IQOS, which means that the HnB device will now be available for sale across the US.
“Following a rigorous science-based review through the pre-market tobacco product application (PMTA) pathway, the agency determined that authorizing these products for the US market is appropriate for the protection of the public health because, among several key considerations, the products produce fewer or lower levels of some toxins than combustible cigarettes,” stated the FDA.
“While today’s action permits the tobacco products to be sold in the US, it does not mean these products are safe or ‘FDA approved’,” added the agency.
Speaking in response to this action, tobacco harm reduction experts have said that they are pleased that smokers will have another safer alternative to choose from. Alex Clark, CEO of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association (CASAA), a nonprofit which champions tobacco harm reduction efforts, is amongst those who spoke in favour of the FDA’s decision.
“CASAA supports the FDA’s decision to approve IQOS for market in the United States. It is vital that people who smoke are aware of and have access to non-combustible alternatives to cigarettes and that these products are enjoyable.”
Read Further: The Sydney Morning Herald