Philip Morris CEO Says Cigarette Sales May End in 10-15 Years
The CEO of Philip Morris International (PMI), André Calantzopoulos, has said that cigarette sales could end in many countries within 10 to 15 years. PMI is best known for its Marlboro cigarettes, but Calantzopoulos said the company is changing to create a "smoke-free future."
Calantzopoulos was speaking at the Concordia Annual Summit, which is usually held in New York, but this year was held digitally.
PMI has now developed products in which tobacco is heated, not burned, which the company says reduces the release of harmful chemicals. It also makes e-cigarettes that allow users to breathe in nicotine without any tobacco.
However, some health groups worry that heated tobacco products still release other chemicals, and that the long-term effects aren't yet known. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also say that the long-term effects of e-cigarettes are not known, and warn against their use by young people, pregnant women and anyone who doesn't already smoke.
Calantzopoulos complained that biased reports from health groups were preventing more people from quitting cigarettes by switching to smoke-free products.
"To be clear: These products are not risk-free," he said. "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."
In 2017, Calantzopoulos wrote that PMI expected at least 40 million people — about 30% of the company's cigarette consumers at the time — to switch to one of its smoke-free products by 2025. In his Concordia speech, he said more than 11 million people had already done so. According to Statista, PMI controls 14% of the world's cigarette market. China National Tobacco Corporation controls 44%, while British American Tobacco has 12% and Japan Tobacco International has 8.5%.
The World Health Organization estimates that 1.34 billion people still used tobacco in 2018.