PMI: Transformation of the tobacco industry

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PMI: Transformation of the tobacco industry


Category: Food & Beverage

The world’s leading tobacco company is determined to play a central role on the path towards a smoke free future.

By Alberto Bernardi, Managing Director Nordics

tobacco industry

The tobacco industry is experiencing a fundamental transformation as focus shifts from conventional cigarettes to reduced health risk products. In line with oil companies such as Statoil, that seek to find sustainable alternatives to oil, Philip Morris ­- the world’s biggest tobacco company – is determined to lead such transformation with the ambition of replacing cigarettes with smoke free products and create a smoke free future.

Smoke free products, such as e-cigarettes and Heath-not-Burn products (where tobacco is heated instead of burned) eliminate cigarette smoke, which is the main source to smoke-related diseases.

We believe it has great potential benefits to public health that consumers are able to enjoy nicotine through vapor rather than smoke, a vapor which reduces the harmful or potentially harmful constituents by an average of 90 – 95 percent. Nicotine is not without risk and is addictive, but it is not the main cause of smoke related diseases.

While the best solution remains to stop smoking, reduced risk products are a much better alternative to conventional cigarettes for a little under one million Norwegian smokers that smoke daily or occasionally.

However, it is not enough to merely develop low risk products. Consumers must be convinced to fully replace conventional cigarettes with these new, less harmful alternatives. Similarly to other industries, consumers demand new product innovations that minimize the negative consequences of their use, which for tobacco means satisfaction with less risks.

Technological innovations, especially in electronics, enable us to regulate the heating of tobacco and eliminate the smoke, while keeping as close as possible to the ritual of smoking.

So far, through a team of 400 scientists in Switzerland, we have invested 25 billion NOK to the research and development of products with reduced health risks. We share our research through, and invite scientific communities all over the world to study our results.

In order to transform the industry, the company must also undergo a fundamental change. We are aware of the skepticism that surrounds our industry, and precisely for this we work diligently towards adopting the most robust international standards on scientific and technological development and being open and transparent. We have established and we are continuing to consolidate constructive communication with health communities and other parties relevant to harm reduction all over the world.

The debate on tobacco awakes strong emotions. However, we believe a more pragmatic approach would be beneficial in our joint efforts towards a smoke free future. We are pleased that Parliament has decided to allow Norwegian consumers these new products with reduced health risks, and we are confident that, through open communication and collaboration, it will be possible to fully take advantage of the public health potential that lies therein.

Source: PMI