Philip Morris International (PMI) supports comprehensive regulation of tobacco products based on the principle of harm reduction.
To be effective, tobacco regulatory policy must be evidence-based. Regulations must be applied to all tobacco products and all tobacco manufacturers, and should take into account the views of all legitimate stakeholders including public health authorities, government finance authorities, tobacco manufacturers and other members of the legitimate tobacco supply chain, tobacco farmers, and consumers. Regulatory policy must consider the potential to trigger adverse consequences which undermine public health objectives, such as increasing the demand for illicit cigarettes, other tobacco products, and/or cheap cigarettes.
While we support comprehensive, effective tobacco regulation, we do not support regulation that prevents adults from buying and using tobacco products or that imposes unnecessary impediments to the operation of the legitimate tobacco market. In that regard, we oppose measures such as generic packaging, point of sale display bans, total bans on communications to adult consumers, and bans on the use of all ingredients in tobacco products.
Regulations like these reflect prohibitionist policies that severely restrict, if not eliminate, the ability of tobacco companies to compete. The consequences, which are often overlooked or ignored to the detriment of public health, are to open the door to the illicit cigarette market—a market that will not comply with regulations, cooperate with regulators, or have any reason to act in the public interest.
The focus of regulators, the public health community, and legitimate tobacco companies should be on establishing comprehensive regulatory frameworks based on harm reduction. They should include:
- mandated health warnings on packs and in advertising;
- limitations on tobacco advertising, including bans on television and radio ads;
- public place smoking restrictions, including bans on smoking in places where people must go and places catering to minors;
- minimum age laws;
- product regulations, including ingredient and smoke emissions reporting requirements;
- strict penalties for selling contraband or counterfeit cigarettes;
- tobacco tax policies that are integrated with health policies; and
- regulations governing products that have potential to reduce risk.