PMI’s IQOS and cigarette ads in Israeli media: a content analysis across regulatory periods and target population subgroups

November 23, 2022

BMJ British Medical Journal

Heated tobacco products (HTPs) are relatively new products that heat tobacco sticks which are inserted into an electronic device to produce an aerosol, and are purportedly intended to reduce exposure to harmful substances relative to cigarettes. Globally, there is increasing awareness and ever use of HTPs. Philip Morris International’s (PMI) IQOS device, with accompanying HEETS tobacco sticks, is the HTP with the largest market share worldwide and is sold in more than 60 countries so far. PMI claims that this product targets adult smokers only.

Israel was among the first countries where IQOS emerged. IQOS went through several regulatory changes after entering the Israeli market in December 2016 (table 1). First, IQOS was treated as a consumer product and thus not subject to tobacco regulations, under which cigarette advertisement on TV, radio and billboards was banned. Then, in April 2017, IQOS was defined as a tobacco product, subject to the same regulations as cigarettes including a ban on using it in smoke-free areas (eg, indoor public places). In March 2019, a partial advertisement ban that excluded print media went into effect for all tobacco products, and in January 2020, plain packaging and a point-of-sale (POS) display ban were implemented.

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