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Is the IQOS Import Ban a Fatal Blow to Altria?

·4 min read
Is the IQOS Import Ban a Fatal Blow to Altria?
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The U.S. International Trade Commission recently ruled Philip Morris International's (NYSE: PM) IQOS heated tobacco device violates two patents held by rival British American Tobacco (NYSE: BTI) and that the electronic cigarettes can't be imported or sold in the U.S. While the ruling is obviously a major blow to the tobacco giant because the U.S. is potentially the world's biggest, most lucrative market for e-cigs and IQOS is so far the only e-cig that has earned a modified-risk label from the Food and Drug Administration, the decision is a devastating blow to Philip Morris partner Altria (NYSE: MO) because it has no vapor products to fall back on and no other markets it can sell into.