The change towards a better future begins with people. For this reason, when proposing the new purpose of the company, it is essential that it pervade the entire organization and that each employee understands it and feels that they are an active part.
This is the case of Philip Morris International. The tobacco company is determined to achieve a smoke-free future, considering what has set a disruptive vision worldwide and that it shares with a diverse, equitable team aligned with this objective.
A paradigm shift affects, however, each of the branches of the company. For this reason, it is not surprising that the PMI team is made up of professional profiles in various fields determined to achieve an ambitious objective and that it moves away from the conception that, until now, had of tobacco companies.
Within this change, multiple teams are involved. Nearly 70,000 employees work at the company today, among them around a thousand are scientists, engineers and technicians who devote themselves to scientific research and the development of smoke-free products.
The scientific data that is already on the table is encouraging: the change towards smoke-free alternatives -such as tobacco heating devices, among others- will allow all those adults who do not quit smoking to have a better option than cigarettes.
For the development of these types of products, Philip Morris scientists work on the basis of eliminating combustion and smoke, the main cause of smoking-related diseases, demonstrating that when combustion is eliminated, exposure to Harmful chemicals. Always, of course, keeping one thing clear: the only way to achieve zero risk is to completely stop smoking and using tobacco and nicotine products.
These four profiles are clear examples of the diversity, experience and talent that make up the change from Philip Morris International.
Tommaso Di Giovanni – Vice President of International Communication
“Just as the ‘bad’ that is present in food is reduced, it is possible to apply a similar concept to tobacco,” explains Tomasso, one of the experts in charge of transmitting the company’s mission globally.
Vice President of International Communication, Tommaso Di Giovanni.PMI
He explains with conviction how in 2014 PMI set out to end combustion tobacco, being the first tobacco company to lead the change: “Every effort by our company must be aimed at reducing the toxicity of tobacco products,” he points out.
In addition, it makes it clear that its approach is aimed exclusively at those adults who do not plan to quit smoking. “You have to offer an alternative for all of them,” she says. “We are using our knowledge to be able to offer smokers something that will allow them to switch to less risky alternatives to combustion cigarettes.”
Gizelle Baker – Vice President of Global Medical Relations
Within the scientific area, a multitude of professionals once again demonstrate the efficacy of smokeless products when it comes to reducing the risk of suffering diseases derived from smoking. “The inspiration comes from pharmaceutical practices,” explains this expert. “To provide evidence, you need a scientific team that follows FDA guidelines and works to the highest standards.”
Vice President of Global Medical Relations, Gizelle Baker.PMI
“We’re talking to consumers and we need them to get the message: non-combustion products are still risky, but they reduce exposure to harmful chemicals,” he says. “Quitting tobacco is the goal to eliminate those risks, but switching to non-combustion products helps reduce the problem.”
From his position, he shows the reality present in the conventional cigarette. “When you burn, it produces ash and solid particles; if we get rid of combustion, we also get rid of all those substances that accumulate in the lungs.”
“If we get rid of combustion, we also get rid of all those substances that accumulate in the lungs”
Gizelle is clear: the use of tobacco heating devices and other alternatives, such as electronic cigarettes, have been the turning point of a trend: “The presence of this type of product has achieved what had never been achieved before: a reduction cigarette sales in countries where the market has accepted these options.”
Stefano Volpetti – President of the Smoke Free Products area
“Together, we have the responsibility to eliminate cigarettes from this planet”, affirms this expert emphatically. A communicator par excellence and one of the leaders of change, this professional speaks clearly about PMI’s mission at a global level: “Smoke-free products are the biggest step we can take as a company: we must facilitate the change towards these products in all adult smokers who will not quit.”
The President of the Smoke Free Products area, Stefano Volpetti.PMI
In his case, he explains that there is no single product that satisfies all the preferences of adult smokers worldwide. “Therefore, a portfolio of options is needed, based on science and smoke-free, with different profiles in modes of use, flavor, price and technology,” he explains.
Andrea Costantini – Director of Medical Relations in Latin America and Canada
The story of this doctor is an example when it comes to understanding the change in vision of PMI and, especially, the need for its message to reach society correctly. Specialist in clinical pharmacology, she worked for more than 15 years in the pharmaceutical industry.
The Director of Medical Relations in Latin America and Canada, Andrea Costantini.PMI
She explains that accepting Philip Morris’s offer was, at first, difficult for her: how could a person specializing in respiratory diseases, which are often caused by tobacco, work for a tobacco company?
It was after learning about the project, learning about it, checking scientific facts and seeing that a smokeless future was possible, that they got together. “It is important that we doctors learn to judge science itself, by its methodology, and not by who is publishing the studies,” he points out.
“Cigarette is harmful. The best thing a person can do is never start smoking, and the best thing a smoker can do is quit,” she says. “But, despite knowing that cigarettes are harmful, today a significant part of the world’s population continues to smoke.” Offering better alternatives for all of them is, today, a primary objective.
“Despite knowing that cigarettes are harmful, today a significant part of the world’s population continues to smoke”
Personally, he imagines a smoke-free future that prevents many people from diseases like COPD, diagnosed in both his father and mother. To all those who, like them, have become or will become ill due to smoking, he dedicates his work on a day-to-day basis. “Through the implementation of tobacco harm reduction policies, we are going to significantly reduce the burden that tobacco represents today in terms of public health,” he points out. “I am convinced of it, and that is the reason why I am working at Philip Morris.”
That certainty, which he shares with his colleagues and with the global team, is the engine that drives a pioneering company in imagining a future beyond smoke today.
Sources: Own interviews / Visit to Neuchâtel / https://www.pmi.com/media-center/news/why-i-joined-philip-morris-international