(CNN)An electronic tobacco device may now hit the US market after getting a green light from the US Food and Drug Administration, the agency announced Tuesday.
FDA allows sale of new electronic tobacco product
The agency made clear that it has not deemed the device -- Philip Morris International's IQOS "tobacco heating system" -- to be safe. And its decision to permit sales is not tantamount to FDA approval.
The device is not an e-cigarette or vape like the ones that have surged in popularity among middle and high school students. Rather, it's a noncombustible device that heats, without burning, "tobacco-filled sticks wrapped in paper to generate a nicotine-containing aerosol," the FDA said.
The agency said the move followed "a rigorous science-based review," after which it decided that the product may have public health merit in part because the device contains "fewer toxic chemicals than cigarette smoke, and many of the toxins identified are present at lower levels than in cigarette smoke."
Critics have expressed concerns about such research being widely company-funded.