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A packet of Marlboro cigarettes, produced by Philip Morris International, photographed in London before legislation enforced plain cigarette packaging from 2016.
London CNN Business —
Philip Morris International says it will stop selling Marlboro cigarettes in Britain within a decade as it called on the UK government to ban the sale of its tobacco products.
The remarks come amid dwindling smoker numbers in the United Kingdom — where cigarettes have been sold in plain packaging since 2016 — and a broader push by the UK government to reduce the prevalence of smoking.
Many investors have already stripped tobacco from their portfolios, and a growing number of financial institutions have pledged to implement tobacco-free policies.
Philip Morris (PM) International CEO Jacek Olczak told the Sunday Telegraph that the UK government should treat cigarettes like gasoline powered cars, the sale of which is due to be banned from 2030.
The company added in a statement Monday that it “can see a world without cigarettes.”
“The sooner it happens, the better it is for everyone,” said vice president of strategic and scientific communications Moira Gilchrist. “With the right measures in place, [Philip Morris] can stop selling cigarettes in the UK in 10 years’ time,” she added.
According to the World Health Organization, smoking — including inhaling smoke second-hand — kills more than 8 million people each year. That compares with about 4.1 million recorded Covid-19 deaths to date.
Philip Morris International, which was separated from New York-listed Altria (MO) in 2008, has invested $8 billion and hired dozens of scientists and technicians to develop lower-risk alternatives to cigarettes, including its flagship IQOS product, which heats rather than burns tobacco.
“Quitting is the best option, but for those who don’t, science and technology has allowed companies like ours to create better alternatives to continued smoking,” Gilchrist said. The company wants to generate more than 50% of net revenue from smoke-free products within four years, up from about a quarter currently.
Earlier this month, Phillip Morris International announced that it had agreed to a $1.2 billion deal to buy UK asthma inhaler maker Vectura. The tobacco company said in a statement that the transaction formed part of its “B
Philip Morris wants cigarettes banned in the UK by 2030
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