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Philip Morris Looks To ‘Phase Out’ Cigarettes For A Less Harmful Alternative

Says the company's CEO, “ I hope this time will come soon.”

When speaking with BBC News, Philip Morris CEO Andre Calantzopoulos spoke openly about the cigarette manufacturer’s plans to pivot away from traditional cigarettes in the future. The company has seen a steady significant reduction in American consumers of its products in recent years due to both quitting and replacement by e-cigs and vaping.

He said to the network’s news branch:

“I believe there will come a moment in time where I would say we have sufficient adoption of these alternative products … to start envisaging, together with governments, a phase-out period for cigarettes. I hope this time will come soon.”

The statement comes on the heels of the company’s launch of the IQOS smokeless cigarette, which they claim gives users the same amount of nicotine as traditional cigarettes but with 90% fewer toxins.

The CEO estimates that there will still be a billion smokers on Earth in 2025, but he hopes that an alternative product will prove sustainable by doing less damage to users’ health than cigarettes have. As this video from The Economist shows, smoking rates aren’t falling as quickly in the rest of the world as they are in the United States:

Deborah Arnott, the chief executive of UK health organization Action on Smoking spoke about the possible benefits of a migration towards other products:

“If smokers switch to electronic cigarettes or other products that can be shown to cut the risks to their health, this could lead to a big improvement in public health,” said Deborah Arnott, chief executive of UK health charity Action on Smoking and Health. “But we need independent evidence to support any claims made by the tobacco industry.”

Over the past 12 months, the UK has been one of the most vocal proponents of cigarette alternatives including e-cigs and other vaping devices.

Philip Morris hasn’t tied its hopes to a public timeline, but the frank nature of the CEO’s comments indicate that a cultural evolution away from tobacco might be closer than we thought.

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