A future without smoke. It is the perspective that, almost two decades ago, the tobacco company Philip Morris International set itself. At first, this fact may seem strange: how does a company dedicated to tobacco consider a future in which cigarettes cease to exist? Why do you seek to be the architect of change?
“We have built the most successful cigarette company, with the most popular and iconic brands in the world,” PMI says. “Now, we have made the decision to become a smoke-free company.”
This vision involves the development of products that, although they are not risk-free, are a much better option than continuing to consume cigarettes, since the combustion responsible for the generation of smoke is eliminated, which science has proven to be the main cause. . of diseases related to smoking.
Thus, the tobacco company decided to turn the wheel and devote all its R&D efforts to ending cigarettes, offering all adult smokers who will not quit the habit better alternatives. “We have the science and there is no time to waste to solve the problem of smoking,” says Olczak.
This commitment has become an investment of 10.5 billion dollars since 2008, divided into segments such as development, scientific foundation, manufacturing, marketing and continuous innovation towards smokeless products. The crowning glory is PMI’s R&D facilities, which are located in Neuchâtel (Switzerland) and Singapore.
“If you have a great purpose, a great objective in front of you, you have to follow the course of your actions and develop that vision,” advises the CEO of PMI. That has been its path: in 2021, the company allocated 73% of its commercial efforts and 99% of R&D spending to developing smoke-free products; In this sense, almost a million employees work, among whom are scientists, engineers, technicians and support personnel destined to innovate and improve the portfolio of smokeless products that the company launches on the market.
Philip Morris scientists work on i+D.PMI
From Philip Morris they affirm that, despite their firm commitment and effort to achieve a smoke-free future, this will not be possible without the support of all interested actors, such as public authorities and scientific communities to accelerate this change and generate a impact on general public health.
This is already being done by different governments and public authorities in countries around us, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand or the United States, where governments and regulatory bodies have taken initiatives that recognize the differences between smokeless products and cigarettes. . , and established standards to provide smokers with science-based access and information about these less harmful alternatives.
Interior of The Cube by Philip Morris.PMI
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), today there are more than 1 billion smokers in the world, a figure that is not expected to change substantially in the coming years. Therefore, what Philip Morris intends with all this transformation is to offer those millions of adult smokers who are not going to give up the habit, a better alternative than continuing to consume tobacco in the most harmful way: cigarettes.
The company also clarifies that, although there is still a long way to go, its purpose is firm and unavoidable: to become a mostly smoke-free company based on its total net income in 2025 (at the end of 2022, already 17 ). Markets could support this achievement). Furthermore, they venture that their ultimate goal is to end the sale of cigarettes and that it can be achieved within a period of 10 to 15 years in many countries.
“Together, we have the responsibility to eliminate cigarettes from this planet” (Stefano Volpetti)
“Together, we have the responsibility to eliminate cigarettes from this planet,” states Stefano Volpetti, president of the Smoke-Free Products area, emphatically, adding: “Smokeless products are the biggest step we can take as a company: we must facilitate The change towards these products in all adult smokers who are not going to quit the habit.”
The future beyond the smoke depends on many agents. Philip Morris has shown, with his example, that it is possible to lead a change that will mark a before and after in terms of public health for millions of smokers in the world.
Philip Morris offices in Lausanne, Switzerland.PMI
-Corporate PMI Document