The Ukrainian Anti-Monopoly Committee (AMCU) launched a case against international tobacco giant Philip Morris for spreading unconfirmed information about the health risks of using the IQOS heated tobacco system on Dec. 30, the agency reported on Jan. 3.
The company is accused of violating Article 151 of the Law “On protection from unfair competition” by spreading misleading information about the lower health risks of using the IQOS system compared to cigarettes.
The AMCU case was sparked by a consumer who used Philip Morris International’s HEETS tobacco products, manufactured for the IQOS system, from 2018 to 2021. Believing these products to be a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, the consumer was dismayed to find no conclusive evidence supporting this claim, according to the committee.
The committee said that Philip Morris hasn’t provided it with documents confirming the truth of the statements it has made in Ukraine, including that “fully switching to IQOS poses less risk to your health than continuing to smoke” and that “IQOS emits 95% less harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes.”
“The AMCU believes that the dissemination of these statements without proper confirmation constitutes a violation of the law on unfair competition through the dissemination of misleading information,” the statement said.
Ukraine’s Health Ministry said that international studies have shown that any tobacco heating system is dangerous and doesn’t reduce the risks of smoking.