News | Regulation | May 4, 2023

      Greek Ministry of Health approves differentiated health claims for heated tobacco products, including THS

      The number of countries that have recognized the importance of informing adult smokers who don't quit about products that are better than cigarettes is growing, and the regulatory approach differs from country to country. Greece is the first country besides the United States to have a regulatory pathway to permit health-related statements following a scientific assessment by competent authorities. One such health claim has been approved for our Tobacco Heating System (THS),  commercialized as IQOS.

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      Tobacco heating system differential health claim approved

      Following a 2-year process, the Committee for the Assessment of the Degree of Harmfulness of Novel Tobacco Products made a positive recommendation based on the scientific evidence submitted by Philip Morris International Greece. The Director General for Public Health of the Ministry of Health issued the respective decision that confirms the conclusion of the scientific assessment of the Committee.

      On March 23, 2023, the Director General for Public Health of the Ministry of Health issued the decision that approves the following claim to be used for communication about this THS variant (translated from Greek):

      “The concentration of chemical substances with known  toxicity produced when using IQOS with HEETS AMBER tobacco sticks is lower compared to conventional smoking. A reduction in the concentration of chemical substances with known toxicity does not mean a corresponding reduction in risk for health. The aerosol of this tobacco product contains nicotine and other hazardous chemicals. This tobacco product harms your health and is addictive. The best choice is to quit tobacco and nicotine use altogether.”


      More information on Greek laws on communicating about novel tobacco products

      In November 2019, the Greek Government presented the National Action Plan Against Smoking that strengthens and supports the actual implementation of the anti-smoking law (L. 4633/2019). The plan is based on four pillars:

      1. The promotion of health and creating a nonsmoking culture that emphasizes prevention, especially in young people aged 15 and over
      2. The protection of nonsmokers from secondhand smoke exposure
      3. The support for smoking cessation by increasing medical support for those who try to quit
      4.  The assessment and regulation of novel tobacco products under a harm-reduction strategic approach 
      Hands holding THS in laboratory


      The Greek Government legislated on the fourth pillar in July 2020, stating the objective of achieving maximum harm reduction for active and passive smokers with the aid of new technologies is added to the policies of prevention at a young age, the cessation of smoking and the protection from passive smoking.”

      Law 4715/2020 establishes a mechanism for the  communication of reduced-risk messages subject to a strict procedure of scientific assessment led by a specialized Committee, stating “The communication of scientifically substantiated claims that the use of novel tobacco products, nicotine-containing and non-nicotine-containing e-cigarettes and other nicotine-containing products presents a significantly reduced health risk or reduction in toxic emissions or reduced toxicity compared to conventional cigarettes is permitted in accordance with the procedure and under the conditions set out herein.” (This is an unofficial translation.)

      The seven-member cross-ministerial committee includes representatives from:

      • The Ministry of Health (2 representatives)
      • The Ministry of Development & Investments (1 representative)
      • The General Chemical State Laboratory (1 representative)
      • The Greek Medicine Agency (1 representative)
      • The Greek Society of Toxicology (1 representative)
      • The Greek Pulmonology Society (1 representative)