Yes, but is it legal?

| March 6, 2018

A tobacco company and New Zealand’s Ministry of Health are locking horns in court for a week-long battle over the sale of a tobacco device, according to a story by Frances Cook for

Philip Morris is defending two charges over the sale of its HEETS tobacco sticks that are used in its IQOS electronic heated-tobacco device.

If the ministry proves that the product is for oral use, but not smoking, that would make it illegal under current New Zealand law.

Health ministry prosecutor Sally Carter told the Wellington District Court that the issue came down to legal fine print.

“It’s the heat sticks that contain tobacco, and there’s no problem that this product contains tobacco.

“The real problem is whether this product falls within the Smokefree [Environments] Act 1990,” she said.

“Significantly, because of the way the Act is structured there are issues whether in fact the product is a smoking issue, and a smoking product.

“The definition of ‘to smoke’ means that the product needs to be ignited.”

Philip Morris is said to be defending the charges, arguing that HEETS comprise a smoking product, even though the tobacco in them is heated, not burned.

The two charges the company faces carry a maximum penalty of NZ$10,000.


Category: Breaking News, Litigation, Next-generation products, Regulation

Comments are closed.