Philip Morris International Making Waves in the U.K.

Philip Morris International, (not to be confused with Philip Morris USA), published ads in different newspapers across the U.K. this week stating, “Our New Years Resolution: We’re Trying to Give up Cigarettes”. Yes, you read that right. One of the world’s BIGGEST cigarette providers has gone on record against themselves. Strange, isn’t it?

It seems maybe, just maybe, the overwhelming evidence that PROVES cigarettes are literal death sticks has finally lit a fire beneath the very companies that provide them. Interesting to note: Philip Morris International operates worldwide – in every country except the USA. Why is this initiative only being brought to the U.K.? Well, in July, you may remember a blog we wrote about the United Kingdom being the very first to come out and embrace e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool. As part of PMI’s initiative to “give up cigarettes”, they revealed they have put  £2.5 billion (~$3.4 billion) into the research and development of smoke-free products to date. I would suppose, the move to unveil these products/alternatives in the one country which has shown an unwavering support for e-cigarettes is a way to test the waters, so-to-speak.

When asked by BBC representatives why they aren’t just halting production of cigarettes, if they want a “smoke-free future”, a PMI spokesperson responded,

“We are trying to go smoke-free as fast as we can. If we just stopped selling cigarettes tomorrow, others would sell them in our place.”

That may be true, and I understand that stance – however, can you imagine the ripple if they did just stop? The only way a revolution is going to come around is if a major player takes a stand. The primary product PMI is going to be selling, initially alongside the cigarettes they’re known for producing, throughout the U.K. is called IQOS. According to the information on their website,

“IQOS heats the tobacco just enough to release a flavorful nicotine-containing vapor but without burning the tobacco.”

Some other devices on the table may come from one of the e-cigarette companies owned by PMI: Nicocig and Vivid. It seems a product called MESH could be the up-and-coming device distributed by PMI – but they have not officially released their e-cigarette or e-juice intentions.

What do you think? Is this a giant PR stunt? Or, is this an attempt to distance themselves from a market that will, hopefully – with any luck, one day be eradicated?

No matter what, I think 2018 is going to be an interesting year for vaping. This is only the beginning.

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Andrew Figgs

Photography Major from Western Washington University . I joined MBV back in December 2014 and am happy to be working in an industry focused on helping others.

  • Katt says:

    I think there might be two motives here. One; hurry and stock up on your favorite cigarettes before they’re gone forever, which temporarily increases stock in the company and boosts sales by smokers afraid to never be able to smoke their favorite cigarette again. Two (if these intentions are true); they of course want all of these smokers who truly want to give it up to see them as martyrs for the cause, insuring that when they do try other alternatives, they only try PMI’s. alternatives. It’s advertising for a future product. I don’t think it has anything to do with the health of the country. With all of the right PR steps, they come out smelling like roses, and loose virtually no customers in the process.
    Of course they’re trying this stunt in the UK, it’s the only country to truly embrace vaping as an alternative. I dont know how companies in the UK work, do they get any kind of government subsidies for such a “philanthropic” endeavor? Forgive me for being cynical , but my distrust and suspicions fun deep with these smoking giants.

  • Mei says:

    Their intentions is never good. I believe, they are trying to run all the smaller vape companies out and install themselves as the go-to company for all our eliquid products. They are not going to stop selling cigarettes, they will say due to popular demand or some such nonsense, they are listening to their customers and it will be business as usual. It’s all about the money. I despise big pharma, big tobacco and the FDA.

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