Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) (NYSE: PM) today reaffirmed its vision for the future: To achieve a smoke-free world; that is, one without cigarettes. For the hundreds of millions of men and women globally who will otherwise continue to smoke, PMI’s goal is to switch them to nicotine-containing products that are scientifically substantiated as better choices than continuing to smoke. Our strong belief—if you don’t smoke, don’t start—begins with a continued and robust focus on preventing youth from beginning to smoke or use nicotine products.
“Given the rapid pace of innovation in the tobacco products space, we are emphatic that youth should not use any tobacco- or nicotine-containing product. Nicotine is addictive. It is not risk-free, and it poses particular risks for adolescents. We know that great care must be taken to achieve our smoke-free goal. Youth should not become nicotine users. Former smokers and never smokers should not return to or pick up the tobacco or nicotine habit. The entire effort must be on providing better choices to the men and women who smoke today,” reiterated André Calantzopoulos, CEO of Philip Morris International.
He continues: “PMI takes that responsibility seriously. Our ‘Good Conversion Practices’ serve as the company’s bedrock for encouraging adult smokers to switch while working to prevent unintended use in the countries where we sell innovative products that do not burn tobacco. In our IQOS stores, we refuse to offer these products to people who have never smoked or those who have quit smoking. We are also clear that these products are not risk-free or a safe alternative to cigarettes. Similarly, our marketing standards are rooted in the principle that we market and sell our products to adult smokers.”
“Increasing the legal age of purchase for tobacco and nicotine products can play an important role in further guarding against youth use of such products, together with access control and education that has to expand from cigarette smoking prevention to the use of any nicotine product. However, that effort must first begin with companies themselves. Tobacco and e-cigarette manufacturers must have the right approach, the right product and the right science as well as robust post-market surveillance programs to ensure new tobacco and nicotine technologies reach their intended audience—men and women who currently smoke. PMI turned to commercialize our smoke-free products only after we were confident we got all three right,” said PMI COO Jacek Olczak.
In countries where IQOS, PMI’s heated tobacco system, is sold, real-world data shows we are reaching current adult smokers—in other words, the correct audience. In Japan (the largest market for IQOS), 98 per cent of IQOS adopters were tobacco users before switching, and globally the average IQOS user is aged 30 to 49. PMI is reaching current adult smokers—again: the correct audience.
In the U.S., PMI affirms, the best way tobacco and e-cigarette companies can address the most serious issues, such as underage use, is by availing themselves of the opportunity presented by review and authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). More than two years ago, PMI put IQOS, our electrically heated tobacco system, for review before the agency. No other company has presented to the FDA a scientific evidence package as comprehensive as PMI has for its heated tobacco system. We are hopeful FDA will soon authorize IQOS for sale in the U.S.
“There is a balance that must be struck. Youth should not use nicotine products. That is beyond dispute. At the same time, public policy needs to recognize the role that new smoke-free tobacco and other nicotine-containing products can play in helping move adult smokers away from cigarettes. Achieving this balance is absolutely necessary to realizing a true public health breakthrough, and requires close coordination with the regulatory agencies pre and most importantly post-market,” adds Mr Calantzopoulos.
To date, PMI has invested over USD$6 billion in the research, development, manufacturing and commercialization of smoke-free products and dedicated 400+ scientists and engineers to research and development. Recently, PMI launched its “Unsmoke Your World” initiative designed to deliver a clear and simple message to adults who currently smoke and those who do not: If you don’t smoke, don’t start; If you smoke, quit; If you don’t quit, change.