PMI chief says goals aligned

| October 3, 2017

The CEO of Philip Morris International, André Calantzopoulos, has told a grouping of health organizations that his company’s core strategy is not at odds with their demand that it stops selling cigarettes.

In an open letter posted on the PMI website, Calantzopoulos said that he had recently received an open from 122 health organizations in which they had called on PMI to stop selling cigarettes; and to do so immediately.

‘In essence, the letter says that anything less than shutting down PMI’s cigarette business is “irresponsible” and “monstrous”,’ Calantzopoulos wrote.

‘In the interest of open discussion, I’ll take the letter’s demand at face value and assume that I could simply order PMI to stop its cigarette sales. What would that accomplish from the perspective of public health?  Would smoking prevalence change?

‘Globally, PMI has a market share of approximately 15 percent, which represents about 150 million men and women who smoke our cigarette brands. If those brands are suddenly unavailable, our competitors – both the lawful and the illicit ones – would quickly step in to meet demand. The supply would change, and there would be short-term turmoil on the market, but people would still smoke.

‘In short, there is no benefit to society for us to stop selling cigarettes from one day to the next. Nonetheless, and perhaps surprisingly, our core strategy is not at odds with the demands of your letter. Indeed, our paramount business strategy is to replace cigarettes with less-harmful, smoke-free alternatives. That’s what we call a smoke-free future, and it could mean that PMI will one day, ideally sooner rather than later, no longer be in the cigarette business.’

The full text of the health organizations’ letter and the current list of signatories is at:

The full text of Calantzopoulos’ letter is at:

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Category: Breaking News, Harm reduction, People

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