Philip Morris Looks To Phase Out Smoke-based Cigarettes
NEW YORK CITY (dpa-AFX) - Philip Morris International Inc.
(PM), which has launched a new, less harmful alternative to smoke-based cigarettes in the UK, might eventually halt sales of conventional cigarettes. The alternative product, the iQOS smokeless cigarette, heats but does not burn tobacco.
Andre Calantzopoulos, the company's chief executive, told BBC Radio 4's Today program that he saw a future without conventional cigarettes and would like to work with governments towards the phase-out of conventional cigarettes.
"I believe that there will come a moment in time where we have sufficient adoption of this alternative product and sufficient awareness to start envisaging - together with governments - a phase-out period for cigarettes," Calantzopoulos said.
The iQOS smokeless cigarette is already on sale in more than a dozen markets, including Switzerland, Italy and Japan.
The new product is very different from modern electronic cigarettes in terms of functionality. Miniature cigarettes, called "HeatSticks", are inserted into the IQOS heating device.
The product uses real tobacco refills, but instead of burning it to produce hazardous smoke and tar, heats it to produce tobacco-flavored vapor. Therefore, fewer toxins are produced. Philip Morris believes that makes it much less harmful than ordinary cigarettes.
Calantzopoulos noted that e-cigarettes, which use an electronic system to deliver nicotine via a water vapor, are not very effective in converting traditional smokers.
Philip Morris, the maker of Marlboro cigarettes, has invested $3 billion in the iQOS. The company's total shipment volume of HeatSticks in the third quarter reached 2.1 billion units, up from 278 million units during the year-ago period.
Philip Morris said it was particularly encouraged by the strong performance of iQOS across all of its launch geographies in the third quarter, particularly in Japan where HeatSticks recorded a quarterly share of 3.5 percent.
However, Philip Morris still makes most of its profits from selling conventional cigarettes. The company's cigarette shipment volume in the recent third quarter was 207.1 billion units, down 5.4 percent from the previous year.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX
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