PMI Pushes for Broader Promotion of HTP
Philip Morris International (PMI) is lobbying for a change in regulations to facilitate the promotion of heated tobacco and vaping products in countries such as the UK and France. PMI has shifted its strategy towards becoming a smoke-free company over the past six years, investing over $10 billion into new products, which currently make up a third of its $32 billion annual sales.
However, in countries where these alternative products are prohibited, like Turkey, Belgium, and Singapore, PMI has no intention to stop selling traditional cigarettes, reports AFP. The company's CEO, Jacek Olczak, believes that selling alternatives can accelerate the reduction in cigarette sales, seeing a smoke-free future in countries open to these products within a decade.
Heated tobacco products (HTPs), also known as "heat-not-burn" products, involve heating tobacco to a high temperature without combustion, which avoids creating smoke. While not risk-free, these alternatives are seen by some health organizations as a potential aid to quit conventional smoking, though others highlight their associated health risks.
Deborah Arnott, head of British NGO Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), supports nicotine-containing e-cigarettes as a quitting aid but criticizes PMI's heavy promotion of its new products, seeing it as a move to protect its future earnings streams.
Olczak attributes the drop in smoking rates in countries like Sweden and Japan to the marketing of alternative products, though others point to a combination of factors including increased public health awareness and stricter regulations.
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