Vaping Controversy: Phillip Morris and Altria Merger Goes up in Smoke

Apparently, dreams of vaping riches just went up in smoke.

The fallout from the vaping controversy brought an unexpected end to a Phillip Morris (PMI)-Altria merger.  “After much deliberation, the companies have agreed to focus on launching IQOS [a heating tobacco system] in the U.S. as part of their mutual interest to achieve a smoke-free future,” said PMI CEO André Calantzopoulos.

According to a PMI press release, “IQOS is the only heated tobacco product with premarket authorization (including two menthol variants) from the U.S. FDA, which followed the Agency’s rigorous science-based review, leading it to determine that authorizing the product for sale in the U.S. is appropriate for the protection of the public health. IQOS is not an e-vapor product. PMI submitted a comprehensive body of scientific evidence in support of this premarket authorization and of the parallel applications for IQOS as a ‘Modified Risk Tobacco Product,’ which the FDA continues to review.”

All after vaping has come under intense scrutiny.

As we noted the other day, President Trump was preparing to ban flavored e-cigarettes in September 2019.

“The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, as quoted by NBC News. “We will not stand idly by as these products become an on-ramp to combustible cigarettes or nicotine addiction for a generation of youth.”

However, this is nothing new.

A year ago, the FDA’s Scott Gottlieb warned, “E-cigs have become an almost ubiquitous — and dangerous — trend among teenagers. The disturbing and accelerating trajectory of use we’re seeing in youth, and the resulting path to addiction, must end. The FDA cannot tolerate a whole generation of young people becoming addicted to nicotine as a tradeoff for enabling adults to access these products.”

Even members of Congress are turning up the heat on the industry.