Story at a glance

  • Tobacco firm Philip Morris International CEO Jacek Olczak said Britain should create a way to prohibit the use of tobacco products within a decade.
  • Olczak argued that the British government should take a “carrot and stick approach” to force citizens to drop the habit.
  • The company has said it is aiming to cut in half its revenue derived from tobacco products as part of its mission to “unsmoke the world.”

Tobacco firm Philip Morris International (PMI) CEO Jacek Olczak said Britain should create a way to prohibit the use of tobacco products within a decade. 

“We can see the world without cigarettes. And actually, the sooner it happens, the better it is for everyone,” Olczak told the Telegraph

Olczak argued that the British government should take a “carrot and stick approach” to force citizens to drop the habit. 

“If you take the current usage or awareness of alternatives and remove this confusion - quite a lot of people actually, still think that alternatives are worse than cigarettes - and you also give them a choice of smoke-free alternatives...with the right regulation and information it can happen 10 years from now in some countries. And you can solve the problem once and forever.”


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The company has said it is aiming to cut in half its revenue derived from tobacco products as part of its mission to “unsmoke the world,” The Guardian reported. Yet PMI, the company behind Marlboro cigarettes, received backlash when it purchased Vectura, a company that makes inhalers for respiratory illness. The tobacco giant reportedly argued the takeover is part of its transformation into a “wellness company.”

But Ian Walker, executive director at Cancer Research, said tobacco companies are setting up “as part of the solution to a smoke-free world, all the while continuing to aggressively sell and promote lethal cigarettes globally.”


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“The industry has a long history of subverting tobacco control policies for its own financial gain, both in the UK and globally,” Walker added. 

More than 8 million people die each year from tobacco, according to the World Health Organization. Around 1.2 million deaths result from secondhand exposure. Meanwhile, according to the organization, more than 80 percent of 1.3 million tobacco users across the globe live in low or and middle income nations. 


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Published on Jul 26, 2021