retail news in context, analysis with attitude

USA Today this morning reports that Philip Morris International has taken out ads in a number of UK newspapers announcing its intention to get out of the cigarette business.

According to the story, the company’s “new ambition in 2018 is to build a smoke-free future and eventually stop selling cigarettes. The manifesto, as described on the company’s web site, is to help people quit smoking traditional cigarettes and to one day replace them all with smoke-free alternatives like e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products.”

Philip Morris claims, the story says, that “the alternatives are less harmful and that ‘we can achieve a significant public-health benefit only when a large number of these smokers switch from cigarettes to better products’.”

However, USA Today also reports that the World Health Organization (WHO) is skeptical about the company’s motivations, and has “refused to partner with The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World which is funded by Philip Morris International.”

“The tobacco industry and its front groups have misled the public about the risks associated with other tobacco products," WHO said last year. "Such misleading conduct continues today with companies, including PMI, marketing tobacco products in ways that misleadingly suggest that some tobacco products are less harmful than others.”
KC's View:
I’m even more skeptical that the WHO. Tobacco companies are systemic dissemblers, liars and poisoners of the general public. They always have been, and I have no reason to think they will change their stripes. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again - there is a special circle of hell that is reserved for tobacco company executives.