- International tobacco giant Philip Morris International has said its 2018 New Year’s resolution is to “give up cigarettes.”
- The firm ran full-page adverts in several UK newspapers claiming it aims to help people quit and to replace traditional cigarettes with smoke-free alternatives.
- The firm said it will seek government approval to include information on quitting and on switching in cigarette packets.
LONDON – Global tobacco giant Philip Morris International’s New Year’s resolution is to give up cigarettes.
In an unusual move, the tobacco company, known for its Marlboro brand, placed full-page adverts in several UK newspapers on Tuesday claiming that the firm’s “New Year’s resolution” for 2018 is to “stop selling cigarettes in the UK.”
“Philip Morris is known for cigarettes. Every year, many smokers give them up. Now it’s our turn,” reads the advert.
“Our ambition is to stop selling cigarettes in the UK. It won’t be easy. But we are determined to turn our vision into reality. There are 7.6 million adults in the UK who smoke. The best action they can take is to quit smoking,” it says.
Philip Morris said it aims to replace cigarettes with alternatives such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco, “which are a better choice,” and which it is rolling out in countries worldwide. The firm also announced the creation of a new website – www.smokefreefuture.co.uk– that contains information on quitting and on switching.
In addition to new products, Philip Morris said it plans to offer support to local stop-smoking services where smoking rates are highest and said it would seek UK government approval to include information about quitting smoking in cigarette packs.
“We believe we have an important role to play in helping the UK become smoke-free. The commitments announced today are practical steps that could accelerate that goal,” said Peter Nixon, managing director of Philip Morris.
“We recognise that never starting to smoke – or quitting altogether – are always the best option. But for those who continue to smoke, there are more alternatives than ever available in the UK.”
In September, the World Health Organisation advised governments to reject a plan by Philip Morris to set up a Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, saying the tobacco industry and “front groups” were “misleading” the public about the relative harm of alternative tobacco products.
To date, the firm has invested £2.5 billion into the research and development of smoke-free products to date, it said.