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Philip Morris Armenia’s General Manager Natalia Mayorova’s message to Armenian IQOS users.

“Dear IQOS friends,

About a week ago RA Minister of Health Mr. Torosyan claimed heated tobacco products are the same as cigarettes and initiated adoption of a regressive law that goes against all global trends and equalizes the better alternatives to cigarettes.

Contrary to the will of many users of alternative products, despite the petition signed by 3 500 people, disregarding hundreds of personal testimonials, the new law puts a huge barrier to innovation, information and access to better alternatives than cigarettes.

It means that Armenia will not have the same promising developments as Japan, where without significant changes in legislation, after the launch of better alternatives the cigarette sales is decreasing by 9.5% per year versus previous statistics of 1.8%. Armenia will not have the same progressive approach as in Australia and United Kingdom, where, despite strict cigarette regulations, for instance, electronic nicotine delivery systems are determined as a legitimate quitting aid for adult smokers.

The law will have several implications on IQOS users starting from this year and later on.

In particular։

- You could no longer use your IQOS device in public places

- You could no longer receive discount on latest IQOS device or participate in trade-in programs

- Your access to the information about latest less harmful alternatives and science behind will become much more difficult.

We are very concerned that these rights will be denied ignoring the risk profile of different products, where cigarettes are the most harmful way to consume nicotine. Instead, there are alternative products, which eliminate the burning of tobacco. Globally, these alternative products have already helped millions of people to abandon cigarettes entirely. IQOS has been authorized by US FDA – a reputable regulator of food and medicines - for sale in the US because, as said by FDA, it is appropriate for the protection of the public health. EU recognizes that better alternatives need separate regulation, which at least means they are not the same as cigarettes.

We believe that forcing us to hide the innovative product under the counter is wrong. We believe smokers who would otherwise continue smoking, must be proactively informed about better alternatives to cigarettes, they need explanation how they are operating, they need care after they began using these products.

Bans do not help public health, economy and technological advancement. Bans just hurdle curiosity and creativity of the Armenian people. Bans send the wrong message to the global technological community.

Who wins in this situation? No one.

Instead, there is a better way. In providing smokers the right to choose how to abandon cigarettes. In making objective scientifically proven and transparent information accessible to them. In helping them to switch to better alternatives.

We – PMI – are committed to the better way. And we will solidly walk forward to reach our vision of building a smoke-free future.”

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