Philip Morris International (PMI) is an American multinational cigarette and tobacco manufacturing company. PMI’s products sold in over 180 countries.
As an iconic brand in the cigarette industry, it declared that free-smoke products will be the foundation of its business trade in the future. And PMI is taking social responsibility and committing to bring healthier products for its consumers and partners. This statement of selling free-smoke products as their future goal also be mentioned in the PMI 2018 annul report. But there is a controversy about PMI’s strategy and future goal, especially after it released the 2019 annual report.
On the official website of PMI, it still presents that PMI’s goal is to deliver a smoke-free future. PMI is now conducting a rigorous assessment program for its smoke-free products, and to establish a better regulatory system and provide less harmful products.
However, the PMI 2019 annual report released this month states, “…for as long as significant legitimate demand for combustible tobacco exists, PMI will continue to sell such products responsibly and seek to maintain our leadership position internationally. In doing so, we will continue to focus our combustible product innovation strategy on fewer and more impactful initiatives, while consolidating and simplifying our portfolio.” The PMI CEO André Calantzopoulos guaranteed to shareholders that the combustible tobacco portfolio still is the foundation of the PMI business.
Ironically, according to PMI, “In 2019, the company’s smoke-free products were already commercialized in 52 markets and represented 18.7% of PMI’s global revenue…”, which means the rest 81.3% are from harmful tobacco products.
As for PMI’s products, according to PMI, “…smoke-free portfolio comprises platforms that heat tobacco, vaporize nicotine-containing liquids or essentially contain only nicotine, all without combustion. Their development and manufacturing follow high standards of quality and consistency … The results are publicly available, are peer-reviewed and have been submitted to numerous regulatory authorities, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).” But the request of PMI to market IQOS (I Quit Ordinary Smoking – heated tobacco product) as a reduced-risk product was rejected by the FDA on January 25, 2018.
Therefore, is the PMI really takes smoke-free products as their future goal and now working on it while need more time to show the result? Or the statement of PMI is only a beautiful speech as its critics claimed? Only time will tell.
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