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April 30 (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday said it would allow Philip Morris to sell a heated tobacco product called IQOS in the United States, a major victory for the international tobacco giant as it looks to sell more alternatives to traditional cigarettes.
Following a review of more than two years, the FDA determined that authorizing the device for sale in the U.S. market was "appropriate for the protection of public health" because the products produce "fewer or lower levels of some toxins than combustible cigarettes."
Altria Group Inc, which sells Marlboro cigarettes in the United States, will market IQOS devices as part of a licensing agreement with Philip Morris International.
Altria Chairman and CEO Howard Willard said the will first introduce the product in the Atlanta area.
André Calantzopoulos, CEO of Philip Morris International, called the FDA announcement a milestone. "All of us at PMI are determined to replace cigarettes with smoke-free alternatives that combine sophisticated technology and intensive scientific validation," he said.
Unlike combustible cigarettes, the IQOS devices heat tobacco-filled sticks wrapped in paper, which generates an aerosol that contains nicotine. They are different from e-cigarettes such as the popular Juul device, which vaporizes a nicotine-filled liquid. (Reporting by Chris Kirkham in Los Angeles and Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Bill Trott)