PMI: A company delivering a smoke-free future

29 May 2019 · 3 min read
PMI is much more than a tobacco company. We want to provide adult smokers with better alternatives to continued smoking.

The name “Philip Morris International” or “PMI” probably brings to mind terms like “tobacco company” and “cigarette manufacturer.” But today, we are much more than that. In fact, we are transforming our company and staking our future on replacing cigarettes with smoke-free alternatives.

Why are we doing this? Because it’s the right thing to do. Approximately one billion people worldwide smoke cigarettes and, according to the World Health Organization, that number will be roughly the same in 2025. We want to offer adult smokers who do not quit better alternatives to continued smoking. To achieve this, we've invested more than USD >12.5 billion in the research, scientific substantiation, and commercialization of our smoke-free products.

It’s time to make smoking history


World map made of green cubes

It’s time to make smoking history

Voiceover: Jacek Olczak, CEO, Philip Morris International

This company wants to change the world.

If we can get there this is going to be really phenomenal

Fast-paced music starts

Words on screen read: That’s why at Philip Morris International, we’ve committed to deliver a smoke-free future.

Voiceover: Stefano Volpetti, President, Smoke-Free Inhaled Products & Chief Consumer Officer, PMI.

This company has had the courage, the vision and leadership to establish a new direction.

Voiceover: Bin Li, Chief Product Officer, PMI

It's very difficult for a company to sign up for a big transformation like this.

Words on screen read: Our ambition? To move away from cigarettes.

Voiceover: Stacey Kennedy, President Americas Region and CEO of PMI’s U.S. business:

We are building our company's future around better alternatives to smoking.

Voiceover: Michael Voegele, Chief Digital and Information Officer, PMI:

I think it's a unique challenge being part of a team that revolutionizes the industry

Words on screen read: Since 2008, we’ve invested over 12.5 billion dollars in scientific substantiated smoke-free products.

Voiceover: Gregoire Verdeaux, Senior Vice President, External Affairs, PMI:

The end of cigarettes is doable and it is about setting a date, setting a timetable and setting a path to go there.

Words on screen read: And by 2030, we aim to have more than two-thirds of our net revenue come from smoke-free products.

In 2023, we were at 39.3% (as of December 31, 2023).

Voiceover: Marian Salzman, Senior Vice President & Chief Corporate Citizenship Officer, PMI:

I think we've become part of the ongoing dialogue around companies that can change.

Voiceover: Lars Dahlgren, President, Smoke-Free Oral Products and CEO, Swedish Match:

I've been impressed with the boldness of PMI articulating that the future is smoke free products.

Words on screen read: Currently our smoke-free products are available in 84 markets

Voiceover: Dr Moira Gilchrist, Chief Communications Officer, PMI:

We set out to develop these products and gather scientific evidence.

Voiceover: Dr Badrul Chowdhury, Chief Life Sciences Officer, Smoke-Free Products:

You actually have a product where the hundred or so chemicals which are known to be harmful are reduced or eliminated. That's the scientific breakthrough.

Voiceover: Dr Moira Gilchrist, Chief Communications Officer, PMI:

This is transforming the entire industry

Voiceover: Jacek Olczak, CEO, Philip Morris International:

The evidence is clear. Smoke-free alternatives can accelerate the end of smoking. The world has to move now to help smokers to move to the better alternative.

Words on screen read: 28.6 million adults globally are using our leading heated tobacco product, of which 20.8 million have switched completely and stopped smoking.

Voiceover: Jacek Olczak, CEO, Philip Morris International:

It's time to make smoking history.

Philip Morris International is seen on screen.



Providing alternatives: Acting now for a smoke-free future

These billion-plus adult smokers aren’t just numbers. They might be your friends, family, or neighbors. Measures to deter initiation and encourage cessation are fundamental. There is no disagreement there. The best option is to quit tobacco and nicotine altogether or even better—not to start. But for the large majority of existing adult smokers who’d otherwise continue smoking, there has to be a sensible plan. And in a world where smoking is a fact of life, we cannot simply ignore the compelling scientific evidence: scientifically substantiated less harmful products than cigarettes are now available to adult smokers who otherwise would continue smoking.

Jacek Olczak
Chief Executive Officer, Philip Morris International

 The science behind our smoke-free products:

There is no debate that smoking is harmful or that nicotine is addictive. What matters is what the consumer is exposed to. For example, there is a huge difference between smoke from a burning cigarette and the aerosol from a heated tobacco product. It’s the burning process that creates the vast majority of the harmful and potentially harmful chemicals that are the primary causes of smoking-related diseases.

If science validates that there is a difference between products, shouldn’t smoke-free alternatives be treated differently? And shouldn’t the millions of men and women now smoking cigarettes know about those differences? Can you imagine the criticism that PMI would face if, at some point in the future, it was discovered that we had better alternatives to continued smoking to offer adult smokers, but had left them in the laboratory?

Transformation can’t happen without conversation

While PMI’s commitment to a smoke-free future is unwavering, and we have robust science on our side, we cannot make this journey alone. For too long, the debate around smoking has been polarized, which has led to paralysis. Without a willingness by world leaders, governments, regulators, and NGOs to look dispassionately at the scientific evidence in favor of smoke-free alternatives compared to continued smoking, transformative change will not come quickly. In the U.S.,  the U.K., New Zealand, and Sweden, there is a growing acknowledgement that smoke-free alternatives to cigarettes can complement existing health policies focused on prevention and cessation.

Those who are still in opposition should be aware that they are becoming disablers of public health solutions. They are blocking change, potentially denying adult smokers both access to accurate information about these smoke-free alternatives, and the opportunity to switch to them if they do not quit. This is a real opportunity.

We must seize it—and seize it together. The emotional rhetoric against the industry—which ignores scientific facts—is not helping the world’s one billion-plus adult smokers. Let's have a more open-minded debate to make a smoke-free future a reality.

Share this article