Philip Morris CEO says cigarette sales may end in 10-15 years

By Yasmine Jacobs Time of article published Oct 7, 2020

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Cape Town - Philip Morris International Inc's CEO Andre Calantzopoulos said that cigarette sales could end within a span of 10-15 years in many nations with "right regulatory encouragement and support from civil society."

Speaking at the Concordia Annual Summit, Calantzopoulos asserted that over 11.2 million people had already switched to the company's main smoke-free product.

The Concordia Annual Summit aims to bring together leaders from the world of business, politics, and NGOs, for a dialogue. He expressed that "a future in which cigarettes are obsolete is within reach" adding that "with right regulatory encouragement and support from civil society, we believe cigarette sales can end within 10 to 15 years in many countries."

Calantzopoulos also discussed the impact that uncertainty, polarization, hyperpartisanship, and ideology are having on international efforts to overcome pressing global issues and called for science to be protected from politicization.

Calantzopoulos shared PMI’s belief that with the right regulatory encouragement and support from civil society, cigarette sales can end within 10 to 15 years in many countries.

“Today, science-based, innovative products that do not involve combustion offer a better alternative for those men and women who would otherwise continue to smoke. To be clear: These products are not risk-free. And the best choice is never to start smoking or to quit tobacco and nicotine altogether. But for those adults who would otherwise continue to smoke, scientifically validated smoke-free products are a much better choice than cigarettes,” said Calantzopoulos at the summit.

“A future in which cigarettes are obsolete is within reach. In fact, with the right regulatory encouragement and support from civil society, we believe cigarette sales can end within 10 to 15 years in many countries. Yes, that’s right: an end to cigarettes within 10 to 15 years in many countries.

“Unfortunately, political agendas and ideology are slowing progress and keeping millions of people uninformed. Rather than holding an evidence-based conversation on how best to regulate these innovative products to help adult smokers leave cigarettes behind, we are often faced with an ideologically driven resistance from some public health organizations and some NGOs. These organizations allow disinformation to appear as legitimate science. They put dogma before data, and they expend more energy on attacking a company than on helping the human beings who should be at the centre of the debate.

“Poorly executed scientific studies, skewed results shaped by bias, and misleading media headlines are now the norm. What is the result? Many adults who smoke are confused about these better alternatives and so continue to use cigarettes—the most harmful way of consuming nicotine. This is inexcusable. We must ask: Who will take responsibility for denying these adults access to and accurate information about science-backed innovations? Who will be held responsible for the real-world consequences of dogmatic thinking?”

“The issues created by uncertainty, polarization, hyperpartisanship, and ideology are not unique to the tobacco sector. From climate change to food security, we need fact-based conversations and a collaborative, multinational, multi-stakeholder approach to deliver real change. The public has a right to decision-making and information based in science. We cannot allow politically driven, well-funded individuals to prevent the world’s citizens from learning about and accessing smart solutions. Whether we are talking about vaccines, carbon emissions, or tobacco harm reduction, we need science, not rhetoric, to inform policies and regulations.

“But a smoke-free future is not yet guaranteed. Ridding the world of cigarettes will require adherence to science, objectivity, collaboration, and a commitment to accelerate information to the people most directly concerned.

“Science secures progress. It secures solutions. It brings hope at a time when global challenges are so great they threaten to overwhelm. We should not allow science to be politicized and polarized.”

IOL TECH

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