Our companies have a long history of leading the industry. Today, adult tobacco consumers are increasingly seeking new options, including those that reduce risk, and their preferences are likely to continue to evolve at an increasing rate. They also want products that address social frictions like tobacco smoke and the odor and ash that comes with it.

That's why we're leveraging the resources across our companies, and through strategic investments, to offer the most diverse portfolio of products to satisfy evolving adult preferences and convert smokers to lower risk products.

The Role of Nicotine

Nicotine occurs naturally in tobacco plants. While nicotine is addictive, it's the exposure to smoke – not nicotine – that causes most tobacco-related disease. Smoke from the combustion of tobacco contains thousands of chemicals that cause the vast majority of harm from tobacco, including lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema.

Tobacco harm reduction is built on the idea that adult smokers who do not quit should be able to get nicotine from products that are less risky than combustible cigarettes.

Altria's Remarks at the 2019 Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum

"We are actively preparing for a future where adult smokers  overwhelmingly choose non-combustible products. We have long said that providing adult smokers with superior, satisfying products with the potential to reduce harm is the best way to achieve tobacco harm reduction. And that's what we intend to do."

Many smokers find nicotine enjoyable, which is why reduced-risk products need to provide a satisfactory nicotine experience. We recognize that comprehensive regulation of tobacco products is necessary to bring these kinds of products to market and let adult smokers know about them.

Federal Regulation

In 2000, Altria became the first and only company in the industry to support FDA regulation of tobacco products. We saw this as an important step to providing accurate and scientifically-grounded communications about reduced risk products to smokers.

Today, the FDA has regulatory authority over all tobacco products. And the FDA distinguishes between the harm associated with combustible versus non-combustible products.

Reversing Underage Use Trends

Tobacco products are for adults. And we recognize that underage use of tobacco products threatens the opportunity to reduce harm among adult smokers.

FDA has called underage use of e-vapor an epidemic and says more must be done. We agree. That’s one reason we supported raising the minimum age of purchase for all tobacco products to 21.

We fully support FDA's commitment to harm reduction and its commitment to "the proper development of products that can allow adults who still need or want to enjoy satisfying levels of nicotine to get it through products that don’t have all of the risks associated with the combustion of tobacco."

A strong public health consensus has formed that not all tobacco products present the same risk. Public health authorities agree that there is a broad continuum of risk among tobacco products, with cigarettes at the highest end of that spectrum. This continuum recognizes that most of the harm caused by tobacco results from the burning of tobacco.

"A centerpiece of this comprehensive regulatory plan is acknowledging that nicotine, while highly addictive, is delivered through products on a continuum of risk. And it’s the delivery mechanism – not the nicotine itself – that is truly the issue at-hand." -  Scott Gottlieb, M.D., Former Commissioner of Food and Drugs

In September 2018, then FDA Commissioner Gottlieb reaffirmed the FDA's central principle that the primary cause of death and disease from tobacco use isn't the nicotine in these products, but the act of combustion, which releases harmful constituents into the body. Since then, the FDA has repeatedly affirmed its view that non-combustible, reduced-risk products may offer a promising opportunity to reduce the harm associated with tobacco use for adults who continue to use tobacco products. 

According to data from the FDA's PATH study, over half of adult smokers would consider using a tobacco product if it had a reduced harm claim. This equates to about 22 million adult smokers who are interested in less harmful tobacco products, particularly if they receive truthful and accurate risk information.

Seeking Authorization to Communicate Reduced Harm Information

We can only compete in the marketplace with products authorized by the FDA. And we can only communicate reduced harm information if the FDA permits.

That's why we are seeking authorization from FDA to put truthful, accurate information about reduced-risk products in the hands of consumers so that they can make a choice that's right for them.


To date, we have:

  • Submitted a Modified Risk Tobacco Product application (MRTPA) for Copenhagen Snuff.
  • Supported Philip Morris International (PMI) on its MRTPA application for IQOS. Philip Morris USA has an exclusive agreement with PMI to commercialize IQOS in the United States.


We believe it is critically important that FDA take steps to foster the innovation of potentially reduced risk products. For tobacco harm reduction to be successful, a marketplace of FDA-authorized reduced-risk products must be in place, with more information about the relative risks of those products being communicated to adult smokers. The regulatory system should respect the rights of adults to make decisions based on accurate information. To make this a reality, FDA needs to establish clear foundational rules for bringing these new innovative products to market.

Helping Reduce Underage Tobacco Use

Kids should not smoke or use any tobacco products. It's a goal we share with many others who care about young people.

Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum

Altria's Remarks 

"With adult smoker demand for non-combustible alternatives, innovation and an appropriate regulatory framework, we have the opportunity to make more progress on reducing the harm caused by cigarettes in the next 10 years than we have in the past 50 years."

Conducting the Science

We invest in the core science needed to demonstrate that new products are in fact less harmful than cigarettes. We have recruited scientists from around the world, from many different disciplines, who share the common goal of tobacco harm reduction.

1 See, e.g., Mitchell Zeller et al., The Strategic Dialogue on Tobacco Harm Reduction: A Vision and Blueprint for Action in the US, 18 Tobacco Control J. 324, 325 (2009); Dorothy K. Hatsukami et al., Developing the Science Base for Reducing Tobacco Harm, 9 Nicotine & Tobacco Res. S537, S546 (2007).