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Prohibition at Any Cost? Philip Morris International Hits Back at Global Campaign of Disinformation

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Statement by Dr. Moira Gilchrist BSc (Hons) Pharmacy, PhD Pharmaceutical Sciences, Vice President Strategic & Scientific Communication, Philip Morris International:

“‘You should develop a safer product.’ For decades, that is what governments and the public health community have told the tobacco industry. PMI has invested billions of dollars in science and technology to achieve that precise objective.

“A campaign coordinated by American special interest groups, all of whom are seemingly funded by the same source—Bloomberg Philanthropies—are dedicated to just one mission. Under the guise of promoting public health, they are working to rob adults who smoke of their right to choose scientifically substantiated better alternatives to continued smoking. We have a question for them: Why are they using an elaborate network of organizations to deceive adults who smoke, elected officials, and the public health community? We can only conclude that they are pursuing a disastrous prohibition-only crusade. We urge these groups to: STOP ignoring the rights of hundreds of millions of adults who smoke and who deserve better alternatives; STOP ignoring science and evidence that doesn’t fit with their dogma; and START having a real conversation.

“This dangerous and misguided campaign has provided grants to media for journalism that many people believe is independent. Ultimately, this undermines the goal of harm reduction and confuses adults who smoke about better choices. And ironically, the campaign attacks the only company that has publicly committed to eliminate cigarettes.

“If people who smoke are denied accurate information—or worse yet, are deceived—about less harmful alternatives, the vast majority will simply continue to smoke cigarettes.

“To set the record straight we have addressed all of the allegations made against us by this global campaign on our website: PMI.com. We invite everyone to learn the facts, study our science and arrive at their own conclusions. We have nothing to hide.”

Background

We are moving as fast as we can, but more importantly adults who smoke are voting with their feet and switching as fast as they can.

We have been clear about our objective to end cigarette sales. This is the future of our company; for PMI there is no turning back. We have the determination to make it work.

The proof is in the numbers:

  • Smoke-free products are now almost a fifth of our business—up from zero five years ago
  • Since 2008, we have invested $7.2 billion to develop and scientifically substantiate smoke-free alternatives
  • Nearly 10 million adults have completely stopped smoking cigarettes and switched to our electrically heated tobacco system, which is now available in 52 markets
  • Whilst cessation is clearly the best option, our market research across many countries indicates that 80% of adults who smoke want better alternatives
  • In 2019, 71 percent of our commercial spend was dedicated to smoke-free products

These facts are the real story.

The question for our critics is this: do they want to make our transformation away from cigarettes slower or faster? Do they want it to make it more difficult for adults who would otherwise continue smoking to choose better products, or less difficult?

Philip Morris International: Delivering a Smoke-Free Future

Philip Morris International (PMI) is leading a transformation in the tobacco industry to create a smoke-free future and ultimately replace cigarettes with smoke-free products to the benefit of adults who would otherwise continue to smoke, society, the company and its shareholders. PMI is a leading international tobacco company engaged in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, as well as smoke-free products and associated electronic devices and accessories, and other nicotine-containing products in markets outside the United States. In addition, PMI ships a version of its IQOS Platform 1 device and its consumables authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to Altria Group, Inc. for sale in the United States under license. PMI is building a future on a new category of smoke-free products that, while not risk-free, are a much better choice than continuing to smoke. Through multidisciplinary capabilities in product development, state-of-the-art facilities and scientific substantiation, PMI aims to ensure that its smoke-free products meet adult consumer preferences and rigorous regulatory requirements. PMI's smoke-free IQOS product portfolio includes heat-not-burn and nicotine-containing vapor products. As of December 31, 2019, PMI estimates that approximately 9.7 million adult smokers around the world have already stopped smoking and switched to PMI's heat-not-burn product, available for sale in 52 markets in key cities or nationwide under the IQOS brand. For more information, please visit www.pmi.com and www.pmiscience.com.

# # #

Contact information

David Fraser
Philip Morris International
T. +41 (0)58 242 4500
E. David.Fraser@pmi.com

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