Chief Executive Officer of Philip Morris International, Jacek Olczak said that the company would stop making its popular cigarettes in the next decade. The CEO told the Daily Mail on Sunday that they were looking at less harmful “modern alternatives.” The Marlboro brand has been an iconic one for over a hundred years in Britain.
The company said that those who wish to continue smoking might have to switch to alternatives including e-cigarettes or heated tobacco devices. These are said to be less harmful when compared with cigarettes.
Olczak mentioned that the traditional Marlboro brand would not appear on shelves of stores as it would totally disappear from the market. He added that the first choice of its customers was to stop smoking while the second one was to switch to safer alternatives.
Although the tobacco giant is quitting its traditional tobacco market, it is investing in and expanding its tobacco heating systems such as e-cigarettes. The company website said that its “smoke-free products” were not “risk free.” However, they were better than traditional cigarettes.
Health charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) said that it was difficult to take such reports seriously from a company that made cigarettes. Ash’s chief executive Deborah Arnott told the BBC that although Philip Morris had been claiming that it wanted to see the end of smoking it was difficult to take such claims seriously as they globally sell “more than one in 10 cigarettes.”
Philip Morris recently said it was planning to buy Vectura Group. This British pharmaceutical group makes inhalers. This announcement was greeted with cynicism, skepticism, and criticism. Many pointed out the irony of a tobacco company that continued to make profits from cigarettes was positioning itself as anti-smoking.
The British Government has already set out a plan for the country to go “smoke free” by 2030. It will consider itself smoke free when the smoking rates fall below 5 percent across the country. Currently about 14 percent of the British population smokes. The Scottish government has set a smoke free goal in 2034, while Wales and Northern Ireland have not as yet set dates. The government plans to reduce cigarette smoking among all age groups.