Why does PMI continue to sell cigarettes in Indonesia if it’s committed to going smoke-free? It’s a topical question, and one of the many that was addressed by Stacey Kennedy in a Q&A video recently released. Kennedy says that the company has big ambitions for its smoke-free products in the country; but, for this to be brought to fruition, the business must remain competitive.
“If we packed up and left Indonesia tomorrow it doesn’t change anything for smokers. They just pick up a different cigarette. Cigarettes don’t go away until we give adult smokers an alternative,” Kennedy said.
Image: Stacey Kennedy, President South and Southeast Asia
Indeed, the company’s smoke-free products already have a presence in Indonesia. However, today it’s a very small one. Kennedy said: “How we go from a small scale to a large scale is the journey that we’re trying to tackle now. We’re absolutely on the path to transition from conventional cigarettes to smoke-free products in Indonesia, just like we are everywhere else in the world. It takes time. Every country’s path is unique, because there’s different levels of awareness and support, country by country.”
Some have suggested PMI is focusing its efforts on providing access to its heated tobacco products in wealthier nations, with lower-income nations such as Indonesia being neglected. This suggestion is completely refuted by Kennedy. “I can tell you that’s simply not true,” she said. In fact, she explains the grand ambition the business has for its heated tobacco product in Indonesia: “We want to bring smoke-free alternatives to all adult smokers in Indonesia over time. That’s a pretty big ambition and it starts with being able to understand what adult smokers need and want. I’m in charge of our business in South and Southeast Asia, and I can absolutely tell you that I spend the vast majority of my time focused on Indonesia and other countries in Southeast Asia and how we can convince adult smokers who won’t otherwise quit to switch to our reduced-risk products.”
Delivering a smoke-free world is a business priority at PMI. This is no different in Indonesia. With the support of governments and regulators, the company is focused on achieving its goal.