PMI who is the maker of Marlboro, has been been promoting itself as wanting to achieve a smoke-free future, whilst at the same time still selling deadly cigarettes, and fighting certain anti-smoking regulations such as rules pertaining to plain packaging. In fact last September, the tobacco company famously made yet another bold announcement, saying that it will allocate $1 billion to set up a foundation that will fight smoking, and then dispense a further $80 million yearly towards the project for 12 years.
Additionally, back in 2016 PMI also made headlines when Andre Calantzopoulos, the company’s CEO, said that he would like “to work with governments towards the “phase-out” of conventional cigarettes”. Following that, Peter Nixon, the Managing Director for UK and Ireland had said, “We want to move towards a smoke-free future and a lot of that is incentivising people to move across from cigarettes to something that is less harmful.”
PMI offering smokers information about quitting
The advert reads, “Our New Year’s Resolution: we’re trying to give up cigarettes”, and goes on to encourage smokers to check out a new website containing info about quitting and switching to safer alternatives.
PMI launched the adverts in time for the new year, clearly targeting smokers who are considering a fresh start. The text of the advert reads, “Our New Year’s Resolution: we’re trying to give up cigarettes”, and it goes on to encourage smokers to check out a new website that contains information about quitting and about switching to safer alternatives. Additionally, the owner of the tobacco company got in touch with UK Prime Minister Theresa May, asking for permission to print information about quitting and switching to safer alternatives, on its cigarette packs.
When asked by the BBC (since they are so keen to go smoke-free) why don’t they simply stop selling cigarettes, a company spokesman said, “We are trying to go smoke free as fast as we can. If we just stopped selling cigarettes tomorrow, others would sell them in our place. In the UK, smokers are well aware of the dangers of smoking but what they want is more information about their options to quit smoking or switch.”
As cigarette sales dwindle, Big Tobacco moves on to safer alternatives
Many are sceptical that the aim of such motions, is ensuring the visibility and success of Philip Morris’ harm reduction product, iQOS.
Naturally, many are sceptical that the aim of such motions is ensuring the visibility and success of Philip Morris’ harm reduction product, iQOS. “The tobacco industry has a terrible track record of funding research designed to support its efforts to block policies to cut smoking,” said chief executive of London-based Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), Deborah Arnott a few months back. “Tobacco industry claims can never be accepted at face value.”
The iQOS device, is a smokeless alternative to combustible cigarettes and works by heating tobacco leaves known as Heets or HeatSticks. These refills which look like short cigarettes, must be inserted into the device and are heated it up once iQOS is turned on and are sold under the Marlboro brand for approximately the same price as their combustible counterparts.
On the other hand, the big tobacco company persists in pointing out that it really wants to stop selling cigarettes and turn their business into a sustainable one. ‘We are absolutely serious – one day we want to stop selling cigarettes,’ said Peter Nixon last year.
Read Further: BBC