10 July 2018
In March this year, Philip Morris New Zealand participated in a trial to determine whether selling Platform 1 and associated tobacco units in New Zealand was in violation of the country’s Smoke-Free Environments Act, 1990.
The question to be answered was whether commercializing the product was at odds with the purpose of the Act, which is to reduce the harmful effects of tobacco products and reduce exposure of non-smokers to passive smoking. Science played a key role in the evidence that was considered by the court. Philip Morris New Zealand submitted evidence from Dr. Moira Gilchrist, PMI’s Vice-President of Scientific and Public Communications, summarizing our scientific assessment of Platform 1.
The New Zealand Ministry of Health presented evidence from an independent scientific expert witness who was requested to give an opinion on whether combustion occurs during the operation of Platform 1. This witness found that “no combustion or other exothermic processes were observed in the operation of the […] device.”
The Court concluded that Platform 1 “while it may have associated risks in itself, is not as harmful or potentially harmful as ordinary cigarette use. This finding would fit squarely with the purposes … of the Act.” The Court also concluded that the law was intended to ban smokeless tobacco for oral use, it does not apply to Platform 1. It deemed that banning the sale of Platform 1 would be inconsistent with the objectives of the Smoke-Free Environments Act, including “to reduce some of the harmful effects of tobacco products on the health of users by monitoring and regulating the presence of harmful substances in the smoke.”
The judgement was good news for the men and women in New Zealand who have already switched to Platform 1. And here at PMIScience, we were pleased to see that science played such a pivotal role in the decision of the court.
The full documents from the court case can be found below:
Court final ruling: New Zealand MOH vs. PMI New Zealand Limited
Brief of evidence of Brendon Neville Baker (NZ MOH)
Brief of evidence of Moira Gilchrist
Brief of evidence of Vickery Elizabeth Blake (NZ MOH)
CRL Energy Ltd - Investigation into IQOS device, HEETS tobacco sticks and evidence of combustion
Closing submissions on behalf of MOH
Notes of evidence taken before Judge P J Butler