A cigarette burns (combusts) shredded tobacco leaves to generate smoke. That smoke contains nicotine, which occurs naturally in tobacco, as well as many harmful chemicals.

It is the high levels of these harmful chemicals—not the nicotine—in cigarette smoke that are the primary cause of smoking-related disease. Nicotine is addictive and not risk-free, but it’s burning tobacco that makes smoking so harmful.

Among those adult smokers who wouldn’t otherwise quit smoking, many are looking for better alternatives to smoking—but no single product will address all individual preferences.

A range of alternatives is key to helping every adult smoker that doesn’t quit move away from cigarettes.

For all adults who don’t quit: Our portfolio of better alternatives to cigarettes 

We have a growing portfolio of smoke-free products that have been developed to satisfy the diverse taste, usage, technology, and price preference of every adult smoker—and help them leave cigarettes behind for good. 

These products fall into three categories:

  • Heated tobacco products—also known as heat-not-burn products—heat tobacco instead of burning it, producing a nicotine-containing aerosol that is fundamentally different to cigarette smoke.  
  • E-vapor products—also known as e-cigarettes and vapes—are handheld battery-powered devices that heat an e-liquid to produce an aerosol, commonly referred to as vapor—hence the term “vaping.”  
  • Oral smokeless products include nicotine pouches (without tobacco) and snus (with tobacco), both of which allow nicotine to be absorbed when placed between the gum and the cheek or upper lip.  

Importantly, none of these products are risk-free and they provide nicotine, which is addictive. However, the absence of smoke and reduction in harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes, makes them a better choice for adults than continued smoking. 

There are now rapid developments in nicotine-based products that can effectively substitute for cigarettes but with very low risks.
Letter to the World Health Organization Director General, from 53 prominent public health experts and leading scientists from 15 countries, May 25, 2014.

Accelerating the reduction in cigarette sales

Since 2008, we have invested USD >12.5 billion in the research, development, and commercialization of better alternatives to smoking. We now have the science, technology, and the supply chain to produce and offer these products to adult smokers around the world.

The potential impact of smoke-free products on public health has already started to surface, with heated tobacco products having led to an accelerated reduction in cigarette sales in Japan.

By offering a diverse portfolio of potentially less-harmful products, we believe we can switch an even greater number of adult smokers faster, to accelerate a positive impact on public health through an end to smoking. This is the most important contribution we can make as a company—and is the cornerstone of PMI’s purpose.