Country for PR: United States
Contributor: PR Newswire New York
Thursday, May 16 2019 - 10:30
Philip Morris Caught Red-Handed Marketing IQOS to Young People on Social Media
WASHINGTON, May 16, 2019 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

-- Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

A new investigative report by Reuters ( 
) exposes how Philip Morris International has aggressively marketed their IQOS 
heated tobacco product on Instagram and other social media platforms, reaching 
millions of young people across the globe. This report demonstrates Philip 
Morris' utter lack of sincerity when they promise to market IQOS only to 
existing smokers and not to youth and nonsmokers -- a promise the FDA relied on 
when it recently authorized the sale of IQOS in the United States.

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In an act of preemptive damage control, Philip Morris announced before 
publication of the Reuters story that the company was suspending 
"product-related digital influencer actions." Once again, Philip Morris is 
changing its behavior only when caught red-handed.

Their claim to market IQOS only to existing smokers has been exposed as the 
fraud that it is. For months, Philip Morris has marketed IQOS on social media 
to millions of young people, and they didn't stop until they were caught. While 
Philip Morris tried to spin the issue as an isolated mistake of paying a 
21-year-old social media influencer in Russia, Reuters documented multiple 
examples of how they have marketed IQOS on Instagram, often using young, 
attractive influencers (the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has also documented 
many instances of IQOS marketing on social media ( 
)). The reality is that this is an aggressive marketing strategy rolled out 
across dozens of countries. From March 2018 to March 2019, social media posts 
using the hashtag #iqos have been viewed 179 million times on Instagram and 
Twitter (according to Keyhole, a social media analytics tool).

In addition, Philip Morris continues to ignore other ways that they market IQOS 
to young people, including the beer fests, beach parties and fashion shows 
they've sponsored in other countries and that they use to present IQOS as a fun 
and trendy lifestyle product. Philip Morris has pursued a strategy of marketing 
IQOS in a way that reaches and appeals to the broadest range of customers, 
including young people (see examples of IQOS marketing worldwide ( 

It isn't shocking that Philip Morris claims it isn't marketing IQOS to youth. 
This is the same company that claims it has never marketed Marlboro or any 
other cigarette to youth. This problem will not be solved by accepting Philip 
Morris' claims of innocence. In the U.S., the FDA must aggressively monitor the 
marketing of IQOS when the product is introduced later this year. If Philip 
Morris markets IQOS in the U.S. using social media and other tactics they've 
used to reach young people in other countries, the FDA should immediately 
revoke the company's marketing order. Other countries where IQOS is sold must 
stringently enforce prohibitions and restrictions on tobacco marketing and 
ensure they apply to IQOS.

SOURCE Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

CONTACT: Caroline Renzulli, +1 202 296 5469, crenzulli,