While the currently $10 billion e-cigarette industry has become a mainstay over the past decade, new health concerns have prompted action from cigarette companies to seek out alternative to vaping.
At least five people have now died from a mysterious lung illness which doctors believe may be caused by vaping. The ailment has become a rising public health concern that has U.S. and state officials perplexed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday. Federal health officials are urging people to avoid using vaping devices amid of string of illnesses across the country.
“While this investigation is ongoing, people should consider not using e-cigarette products,” the Centers for Disease Control said in a press statement Friday.
“People who do use e-cigarette products should monitor themselves for symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever) and promptly seek medical attention for any health concerns,” the CDC statement added.
As a result, a new tobacco product IQOS which was recently granted permission to be sold in the U.S., has now moved to the forefront, as tobacco companies look to mitigate the damage caused by the vaping scare.
The Food and Drug Administration determined in April that Philip Morris International could begin marketing and selling the heat-not-burn device IQOS, the first product of its kind to be sold in the U.S. Heat-not-burn tobacco products, also called heated tobacco products, are electronic devices that heat tobacco leaves to produce an inhalable aerosol, rather than burning tobacco like traditional cigarettes.
While IQOS is an electronic device, the FDA has classified it as a cigarette, which means the product is subject to all the same existing restrictions for traditional cigarettes, Philip Morris claims these products are safer than cigarettes.
IQOS grew 37% last quarter globally, although it currently accounts for only 5% of the company’s overall sales.
Investors who are concerned about the effects of vaping and tobacco in general could consider healthcare ETFs like the Fidelity MSCI Health Care ETF (FHLC) or the Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT), while those who would like to invest in rising tobacco technology trends could consider the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLP) or the iShares Global Consumer Staples ETF (KXI).
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