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.
“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.
“Philip Morris has claimed that it wants to see the end of smoking for years now, but how can such claims be taken seriously from a company which sells more than one in ten cigarettes smoked worldwide?,” Deborah Arnott, the CEO of UK public health charity Action on Smoking and Health said in a statement Monday.
She added that “fine words” are not the solution and that companies such as Philip Morris should fund government-backed campaigns to discourage smoking and help smokers quit.
— Lauren Gunn contributed reporting.