Packaging for tobacco sticks used with the heat-not-burn (HNB) device IQOS does not have to include graphic health warnings in Malaysia because such sticks do not come under the legal classification of a cigarette, according to a story in The Sun Daily quoting the Ministry of Health (MoH).

The MoH said the exemption from the ruling on pictorial warnings stemmed from the fact that the Heets tobacco sticks, while comprising a tobacco product, emitted vapor instead of smoke.

Questioned by the Sun Daily, the MoH said it had not approved any studies on the health consequences of using HNB devices, but that the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) had agreed to investigate these health effects.

Meanwhile, because the tobacco sticks are not classified as cigarettes, they can be sold at a lower price, RM14, than that of combustible cigarettes, RM17.40.

The Sun Daily said that HNBs had been allowed to be marketed in Malaysia without prior research to verify claims by tobacco companies that they were a safer alternative to cigarettes.

It said that questions about the grounds on which HNBs were allowed to be marketed in Malaysia were not answered by the MoH.

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