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Philip Morris steps up goal; Aims to become smoke free company

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It would do more harm than good…so goes that proverbial saying.

And this statement aptly narrates the danger to one’s health of cigarette smoking.

More harm than good. Period.

The best way to avoid the harm of smoking is to not start in the first place. For someone who already smokes, quitting tobacco and nicotine altogether is the best thing they can do to reduce their risk. 

And the more options that are available to smokers who don’t quit tobacco and nicotine altogether--the more opportunities for them to choose an alternative, and through switching to it--completely abandon cigarettes.

Medical science, supported by numerous researches however has proven that the chemicals produced by combustion and not the nicotine are the primary cause of smoking-related diseases. 

Many years ago, the tobacco industry was challenged to reduce the harm caused by cigarettes.

One of the world’s leading cigarette manufacturer, Philip Morris International (PMI), in which cigarette sales today remain the largest part of its business in most countries, has transformed from being just a cigarette company and accepted the challenge in 2008. PMI has dedicated to develop and scientifically substantiate smoke-free products that are less harmful than continued smoking, with the aim of completely replacing cigarettes as soon as possible. 

“We are seeking to radically reduce the harm caused by our products—not through reformulation but through reinvention and replacement.,” said Tommaso Di Giovanni, Vice President, Global Communications at PMI. 

He stressed that, in 2016 PMI took a giant step by committing to focus our business on smoke-free products to replace cigarettes in the shortest term possible.

So far, the company has invested more than USD 9 billion as it believed that disruptive science, innovation, and technology should be the driver in sustaining the development of smoke-free products with the potential to reduce the risk of harm for adult smokers who would otherwise continue smoking.

These announcements highlighted the Technovation event at the Cube, PMI’s R&D center in Neuchatel, Switzerland held last June.

PMI brought together over 100 media practitioners from across the globe as it provided the attendees with an opportunity to engage with PMI’s senior leaders, scientists, and R&D experts. 

Metro News Central was part of the Philippine media delegation that were provided by PMI of an immersive experience at PMI's Research and Development Center in Switzerland.

Philippine media delegation at the Technovation event at the Cube, PMI’s R&D center in Neuchatel, Switzerland. PMI brought together over 100 media practitioners from across the globe as it provided the attendees with an opportunity to engage with PMI’s senior leaders, scientists, and R&D experts. Highlight of which is the immersive experience that demonstrated how disruptive science, innovation, and technology are driving the development of smoke-free products.

Interest of 1 billion people who smoke should be at the center of the discussion.

As current fiscal and regulatory measures are not accelerating cessation, scientifically substantiated products can switch consumers out of cigarettes much faster than restrictive measures only. In addition, differentiated regulatory frameworks are a must. Positive public health outcomes can be significantly accelerated. Interest of 1 billion people worldwide who smokes should be at the center of the discussion. 

Data from the World Health Organization and the Department of Health show that there are more than 16 million Filipino smokers, resulting in more than 100,000 smoking-related deaths annually. 

The Philippines also has a very low smoking quit rate of 4%, which means that not even 1 out of 10 smokers will quit every year. 

Results of the 2015 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) showed that nearly a quarter, or 23.8 percent of Filipino adults were tobacco users.  Of the total, 18.7 percent (13.1 million) were smoking daily, with an average of 11 cigarettes a day.

Against this backdrop, the 18th Congress and the Marcos administration paved the way-- for the passage of Republic Act No. 11900 or the Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act to become a law-- which they said “will eradicate the smoking epidemic and help more than 16 million Filipino smokers switch to less harmful alternatives”.

“The more options that are available to smokers who don’t quit tobacco and nicotine altogether, the more opportunities for them to choose an alternative, and through switching to it completely abandon cigarettes”. 

If an adult smoker won’t quit, then switching to a product that doesn’t burn tobacco is a better choice than continuing to smoke cigarettes. This is because the burning process generates most of the harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke and linked to smoking-related diseases. 

Smoke-free product company

PMI’s ambition to become a majority smoke-free product company has gained tremendous momentum in not so long span of time.

Last year, 73% of PMI’s commercial efforts and 99% of its R&D expenditures were dedicated to their smoke free products. It employs over 930 R&D positions, including scientists, engineers, technicians, and support staff, to continuously innovate and enhance their smoke-free portfolio, and with a network of research and technology partners in over 30 locations worldwide.

Gizelle Baker, Vice President, Global Scientific Engagement explained during the same event “Science shows us that it’s the chemicals produced by combustion that are the primary cause of smoking-related diseases. If we want to achieve the public health breakthroughs that society demands and deserves, we must follow the science,” added 

Meanwhile, Stefano Volpetti, Chief Consumer Officer, PMI, added: “We know that a single smoke-free product will not satisfy the preferences of all adult smokers. “Therefore, although not risk-free, a portfolio of science-based, smoke-free options—with different usage, taste, price, and technology profiles—is necessary to encourage more smokers to switch completely. Because tobacco is heated and not burned, there is no smoke. The levels of harmful chemicals in the generated aerosols are significantly reduced compared to cigarette smoke”,Volpetti explained. 

PMI has developed several heated tobacco products (HTPs). Also known as tobacco heating systems (THS) and heat-not- burn products, heats the tobacco at a temperature that allows the release of a nicotine-containing tobacco aerosol but without burning the tobacco. 

Scientific studies and researches to date have yielded results that shows IQOS (PMI’s leading tobacco heating system), while not risk free: Generates no-combustion and no-smoke and that its aerosol has on average 90 to 95percent lower levels of harmful and potentially harmful constituents (HPHCs) and is less toxic than cigarette smoke in laboratory models.

It has also shown no adverse effect on the overall indoor air quality when used in an indoor environment. Clinical findings from a six-month study on bio-markers of potential harm indicate that switching completely to the THS has a positive impact on adult smokers’ health.

As of March 31, PMI estimate there were approximately 17.9 million IQOS users, 71 percent of them, or 12.7 million adult smokers, have switched to IQOS and stopped smoking, with the balance in various stages of conversion. 

With more than 980 scientists, engineers, technicians, and support staff who have brought Philip Morris this far, these individuals are determined to carry the leading cigarette manufacturing company forward towards its goal of a smoke-free future. 

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