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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

GW: Study to Analyze International Marketing of New Heated Tobacco Product

Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University has received a $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to examine the marketing strategies used by Philip Morris International to sell a new tobacco product called IQOS.

Dr. Carla J. Berg, a professor of prevention and community health at Milken Institute SPH, will co-lead the three-year study. The research team will examine IQOS marketing and impact on consumer behavior in Israel, where the product has been sold since 2016, and in the United States, where it entered the marketplace this month.

Marketing strategies used to sell IQOS internationally include sponsorships of events, social media, and product-specific stores and kiosks. U.S. regulation already prohibit several of these tactics, including sponsorships, but an IQOS store newly opened in Atlanta as a test market, with plans to expand sales nationwide.

Little data is available on youth use of IQOS internationally, and more research is needed to learn if U.S. young people would use the product. Dr. Berg and the research team will examine marketing of the product in Israel and the U.S. to determine if any could appeal to young people, possibly helping officials prevent youth use of another tobacco product.

“By understanding how IQOS has been marketed across different countries and policy contexts, we can more efficiently and quickly inform regulatory efforts in the U.S.” Dr. Berg said. “It’s critical to use real-world marketing examples to gauge the public health impact of this new product, particularly as it pertains to the uptake of such products among young people.”

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