What is PMI doing to help adult smokers in low- and middle-income countries?4 min read
To phase out cigarettes completely, delivering a variety of better choices than cigarettes to adult smokers worldwide is critical.
For PMI, this means developing smoke-free products that cater to a range of taste, usage, technology, and price preferences.
Therefore, while it’s vital to increase the availability of our science-based smoke-free alternatives across the world, we must also ensure we’re tailoring devices to meet the diverse needs unique to different geographies.
This will provide every adult smoker with the option of switching to a better alternative instead of continuing to smoke. We believe every adult who does not quit tobacco and nicotine use should have this right to choose better options than continuing to smoke cigarettes.
Our commitment to helping adult smokers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) move away from cigarettes is already in evidence.
As of the end of 2021, PMI’s smoke-free products were available in 30 LMIC markets. Our ambition is for at least 50 percent of the markets that sell smoke-free products to be LMIC markets by 2025, bolstered by new innovative products for consumers with lower purchasing power.
Addressing price barriers
If PMI is to deliver on its vision of a smoke-free future—one in which cigarettes no longer exist—deploying inclusive solutions to meet the needs of different segments of the world’s population and geographies is paramount.
So, we must account for the economics of smoke-free innovations, which can significantly differ from those of centuries-old products such as cigarettes.
To address the potential price barrier for adult smokers who would like to switch to better alternatives, we deploy various solutions, such as:
- Initial lending of the smoke-free device or payment over time.
- Enhanced battery and firmware performance and increased longevity of devices, which lowers the average annual cost for the user, while also improving the ecological footprint of our devices.
- A broadened portfolio offering different price points. Also, we may lower the price of existing smoke-free device versions following the launch of a new version.
- Remarketing of used smoke-free products collected from consumers, which are refreshed or repaired according to stringent standards.
Launching a new heated tobacco product
Since 2008, PMI has invested more than USD 10.5 billion in the development, scientific substantiation, manufacturing, commercialization, and continuous innovation of smoke-free products.
Expanding our heated tobacco, e-vapor, and oral smokeless portfolios into LMIC markets enables us to advance toward our ultimate ambition of achieving a smoke-free future.
Buoyed by this global health goal, in November 2022, we launched a more affordable version of our leading heated tobacco product in the Philippines—and we plan to roll out the smoke-free device across new LMIC markets in future.
This product provides us with an opportunity to address consumer acquisition barriers among current adult smokers, including affordability and the different taste preferences unique to certain geographies.
For example, the tobacco flavors favored by adult smokers in South Asia are, generally, different to those favored by adult smokers in Europe.
The smoke-free product is also aimed at offering existing users of our heated tobacco device a more affordably priced smoke-free alternative—thereby preventing them returning to cigarette smoking.
Of course, the best choice any smoker can make is to quit tobacco and nicotine altogether.
However, PMI’s latest scientifically substantiated heated tobacco product emits on average 95 percent lower levels of harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes, making it a much better choice for those adults who would otherwise continue to smoke.1
The right thing to do
By 2025, our goal is that at least 40 million adults—those who would otherwise continue to smoke cigarettes—will have switched to our smoke-free alternatives, and that more than 50 percent of PMI’s total net revenues will come from these products.
This is the importance we’re placing on tobacco harm reduction. We believe its role in accelerating society’s journey toward a smoke-free future can’t be underestimated.
Only one in 10 adult smokers will successfully quit smoking in any given year.
Considering there are around one billion smokers in the world today, and that—according to the World Health Organization—this figure won’t change significantly by 2025, cessation efforts alone do not appear to be sufficient to accelerate an end to cigarettes.
That’s why we’re focused on developing a portfolio of smoke-free products—varying in taste, affordability, usage, and technology—to provide a better choice to each adult smoker who would otherwise continue to smoke.
Including lower-income adult smokers is not only the right thing to do—it’s central to our ambition of delivering a world without cigarettes.
1Average reductions in levels of a range of harmful chemicals (excluding nicotine) compared to the smoke of a reference cigarette (3R4F). Importantly, this does not necessarily equal a 95 percent reduction in risk, and our smoke-free products are not risk-free.