Why We Want To Stop Selling Cigarettes – Philip Morris MD
Philip Morris International (PMI), world’s second largest tobacco company, has revealed its plans to stop selling cigarettes.
The Managing Director of PMI Sub-Saharan Africa, Bahman Safakish, who disclosed this on Thursday, said the company was committed to a smoke-free world.
“Our main objective is to help people to move away from cigarettes,” he said.
Safakish said the tobacco company was moving to the production of electronic tobacco heated system that produces a vapour, rather than harmful smoke.
He said, “One of the quickest and most effective solutions to reach the overall goal of reducing noncommunicable diseases would be to switch from conventional tobacco products to less harmful products like smoke-free products.
“The number one cause of smoking-related illnesses is all of the toxic substances in cigarette smoke, most of which are formed during the burning of tobacco.”
The PMI, according to Safakish, is targeting 30% of its volumes to be represented by smoke-free products by 2025.
He said: “It is important to note that the World Health Organization estimates that there will be over a billion smokers by 2025 and the goal is to reduce the prevalence of smoking by 30% then.
“Our ambition is that 30% of our volumes be represented by smoke-free products by 2025, which is equivalent to approximately 40 million smokers that adopt them.”
He, however, added that replacing cigarettes with smoke-free products will take time and does not depend only on the company’s efforts.
He advised scientists and experts to help by providing accurate information to the public about the relative risks of these products versus continued smoking, governments can work with manufacturers to encourage innovation in this space.
In addition, the PMI Sub-Saharan Africa boss stated that the Governments across the world have an important role to play by defining regulations that encourage smokers to switch and smokers ultimately will have to decide to quit cigarettes and, or switch to less harmful products.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on July 7, 2020 issued a decision on Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) applications for IQOS and three HeatSticks variants (the IQOS tobacco heating system) submitted by Philip Morris International since 2016.
Safakish described the decision as a historic one as it marks the first time that FDA has granted Modified-Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) marketing orders for a heated tobacco product.
“We are making tremendous progress toward our ambitions of a smoke-free future. IQOS is already commercialized in 53 markets, and we have already encouraged over 10 million smokers to switch to IQOS and abandon cigarettes, and four more million are currently adopting the product and we expect them to abandon cigarettes soon.
“However, the reality is that the vast majority of smokers simply do not quit. Even WHO’s own predictions forecast that there will continue to be more than 1 billion smokers by the year 2025, roughly the same number as today.
“Providing these smokers with science-based less harmful alternatives is, therefore, a commonsense solution to improve public health,” Safakish explained.