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Montevideo, February 27th 2017 - 18:06 UTC

Old-fashioned cigarette doomed, says world's largest tobacco company

Saturday, December 3rd 2016 - 09:41 UTC
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Andre Calantzopoulos, CEO of Philip Morris, manufacturer of the world's top cigarette brand Marlboro, sees the business shifting to electronic smoking devices Andre Calantzopoulos, CEO of Philip Morris, manufacturer of the world's top cigarette brand Marlboro, sees the business shifting to electronic smoking devices

A historic lawsuit loss to Uruguay over tobacco-related cancer damages and other technological developments have Philip Morris focusing on new alternatives. “I think the time will come when we will have enough acceptance of these alternative products to begin to propose, along with the governments, a gradual elimination of conventional cigars,” the company CEO Andre Calantzopoulos announced.

 Philip Morris opened a small tobacco shop in London in 1847 and by 1881 had already been transformed into a corporation controlled by his family. In 1924, after moving to the US, the company launched the most famous brand in its portfolio: Marlboro.

By 1983 it was already the largest tobacco company in the world, a time when scientific evidence on tobacco damage was falling sharply. Earlier this century, the company lost three million-dollar lawsuits against people suffering from cancer, as well as a historic defeat in a lawsuit against the government of Uruguay, which ended on July 8.

That is why the company has been developing alternative products for many years, such as electronic cigarettes, and more recently the IQOS, its smokeless cigarette, which is already on sale in Japan, Switzerland and Italy.

Upon launching this new array of products, Calantzopoulos acknowledged that the company will eventually stop manufacturing traditional cigars. “I think there will come a time when we will have enough acceptance of these alternative products ... to begin to consider, together with the governments, a gradual elimination of conventional cigars.”

The gigantic multinational says its new alternative cigarette allows smokers to receive the same nicotine ration as a traditional cigar but 90 percent less than the most harmful toxins of tobacco.

The executive went further and said that in his clinical trials - which have not yet been validated by external agencies - indicate that IQOS has the same impact as quitting. The product still does not reach Latin America, but the company is studying its arrival.

Philip Morris warned that IQOS is not an electronic cigarette. It is a device with a pencil-shaped unit in which the cigarettes are heated to 250 °C, unlike the 800 °C of a conventional cigarette, thus avoiding the combustion and the production of smoke and ash.

The heater works with a rechargeable battery and the cigarettes, commercially called “heatsitcks”, are shorter than traditional ones, but they are made with tobacco, paper and filter and are smoked in a similar way to the others.

Since 2008, the firm has invested more than USD 2 billion and hired more than 300 scientists and engineers to “develop and evaluate potentially less harmful products” than traditional cigarettes. In countries like Italy and Switzerland these “heatsticks” are already marketed under the Marlboro brand.

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  • owl61

    I would be interested to survey the children (18+ years of age) of the top 10 executives of the largest 3 cigarette companies to see what % smoke cigarettes. Be willing to bet it is very small %.

    Dec 03rd, 2016 - 02:21 pm +3
  • ChrisR

    Despite marking of cigarette cartons and 'shocking' posters over the checkouts in supermarkets there is a large part of the population of seemingly all ages who still smoke cigarettes in Uruguay.

    Having 1.4M stinking poor being paid to do nothing puts the numbers up. And the sale of LED TV's.

    Dec 03rd, 2016 - 07:26 pm -1
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