“The development of smoke-free products in Africa represents a real challenge for this institution,” said Philip Morris International, president and general manager of the global tobacco giant, Jacek Olczak.
Olczak explained in a speech during a virtual press conference entitled “Entrepreneurship in Transformation” organized on the occasion of his appointment as the new Director General of the Foundation, that the presence of Philip Morris International in African countries in general, and North African countries in particular, is considered a matter of great importance, given that most Its competitors are present on this continent, indicating that the challenge is not only in marketing its products in the region, but in establishing some basic infrastructure as well.
These moves come after previous accusations against the company, where it was accused of trying to weaken or freeze anti-smoking laws, especially in Africa.
Olczak spoke of a smoke-free future, saying that “it is to replace dependence on income from traditional cigarettes as soon as possible,” noting that the enterprise’s smoke-free product range includes heated tobacco products, including electrically heated tobacco (IQOS), as well as products. Steam generator containing nicotine.
He continued, “As a leading company in the field of scientific innovation, our ambition by 2025 is to obtain more than half of our net income from smoke-free products,” stressing that the international company will rely in this regard on scientific research by invoking its qualifications and collective intelligence to enable it. Innovation leading to surpassing current investments and exploring new areas for commercial development.
In this context, he indicated that 98% of Philip Morris International’s expenditures are directed to research and development related to smoke-free and risk-free products, with the aim of ensuring a better future for all adult smokers.
Olzak added that nearly 14 million adult smokers around the world have switched to the heated tobacco product “IQOS” system, a system developed by Philip Morris International that is a low-risk alternative to cigarettes, helping them to quit smoking.
The idea of the new cigarettes, dubbed “IQOS”, relies on heating tobacco instead of burning it.
The giant claims that this provides smokers with getting the same amount of nicotine, but with 90 percent fewer toxins that may be transferred with smoking.
The company says that the experiments, whose results have not yet been documented by a third party, have concluded that the new cigarette has the same effect as quitting smoking.
The IQOS cigarette contains a battery valued at £ 45 and looks more like a compact, compact cell phone.
You can buy packs of tobacco sticks, and a pack of 20 sticks costs £ 8.
Users say it is less harmful than traditional cigarettes and does not stick to clothes.
Olzac said the foundation mainly aims to ensure that its smoke-free products meet the demands of adult consumers and are tuned to very stringent regulatory requirements.
“Our vision, which all PMI members adhere to, is that these smoke-free products will someday replace cigarettes,” the Foundation President affirmed. This is possible, but no one yet knows when this dream will be fulfilled.
Jacek Olczak: Developing smoke-free products in Africa is a challenge
It is noteworthy that Philip Morris International is leading a shift in the tobacco industry by targeting the elimination of smoking and eventually replacing cigarettes with non-combustible products for the benefit of adults who wish to continue smoking in a different way.
Since March 31, 2021, PMI’s smoke-free products have been on sale in 66 markets.
According to workers at the International Tobacco Company, Philip Morris’s strategy is not to attract new smokers. In fact, as they say, IQOS stores are supposed to keep nonsmokers away. Choosing not to smoke or to quit cigarettes entirely is the best option. But for those who don’t, the company’s smoke-free products can be less harmful than continuing to smoke conventional cigarettes.
Although convincing customers not to buy a product that brought huge profits to the company does not seem like a profitable strategy, but Philip Morris International says that converting the current smokers of more than one billion people in the world to smoking smoke-free alternatives leaves a lot of room for growth.
Philip Morris International has spent $ 3 billion creating the alternative cigarette.
A percent of the company’s expenditures are directed towards developing risk-free smoke-free products
The company’s CEO, Andre Calantzopoulos, said in a press statement earlier that he wanted to cooperate with governments for a “gradual cessation” of traditional cigarettes.
He said at the time that the company knew that its products were harmful to consumers’ health, and that the best response to course correction was to “find and commercialize” less harmful varieties. “This is our clear goal,” he added.
This is not the first time that cigarette makers have experimented with heating tobacco rather than burning it to reduce harm to consumers.
In the eighties of the last century, Reynolds, the American tobacco company, produced a type of cigarette it called “Premier” based on heating tobacco. But it still relied on some combustion.
The company had been producing this type of cigarette for a year, but consumers complained about the complexity of the ignition process as well as the sense of the taste of charcoal.
But anti-smoking campaigns said products like IQOS, like tobacco, needed strict regulatory measures.
“We still need to be very careful about what the manufacturing sectors want,” said Deborah Arnott, Executive Director of the Initiative’s Smoking and Health Awareness Group.
“Philip Morris is a tobacco company. The company is still making a profit from selling cigarettes. On the other hand, smoking will kill a billion people in the twenty-first century, most of them in poor countries.
“If Philip Morris really wants to stop smoking, they should refrain from promoting smoking to young new smokers around the world,” she said.