The international tobacco giant behind Marlboro and other major brands like L&M, Parliament and Chesterfield, made a major announcement on New Year's Eve - the company plans on phasing out the manufacturing of cigarettes and move into other smoke-free products.
The company said they've chosen to do "something really big" and move away from cigarette production and instead focus on devices like IQOS, which heats tobacco rather than burn it. It claims the product could potentially reduce the number of noxious chemicals by 95 percent, but research is still being carried out.
"If we stop selling cigarettes, some else is going to sell them because people buy them,” Andre Calantzopoulos, CEO of Phillip Morris International, told Sky News. “So I don’t think that will have any impact on public health or the health of people."
"At the end of the day, the ambition we have is to replace cigarettes as soon as possible, with better alternatives for the people who continue smoking," said Calantzopoulos.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says tobacco use causes nearly six million deaths globally every year. Tobacco use by Americans account for nearly 500,000 deaths every year and is the leading cause of lung cancer according to the American Lung Association.
Since 1964, more than 20 million people have died from smoking-related illnesses with 2.5 million of those being nonsmokers who developed diseases from secondhand-smoke exposure, according to the Surgeon General.
It was reported in December that Phillip Morris had invested heavily in a cannabis company, the Chronos Group. The deal is expected to give PMI 55% ownership within 5 years, so it's unlikely that smokeless tobacco products will be the only venture the international tobacco giant plans on working on in 2019.
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