PMI's CEO Jacek Olczak shares his vision for a smoke-free future


Jacek Olczak Chief Executive Officer of Philip Morris International

PMI's CEO Jacek Olczak shares his vision for a smoke-free future

Jacek Olczak, CEO of Philip Morris International, speaks to camera.

You're going into the territory which was completely unchartered nobody ever tried to unsmoke the world.

The science exists today and there is no time to spur it to solve the problem of smoking

I was born an optimist and as I used to say I was educated a pragmatist from my life and all experiences.

Obviously it comes to the times your optimist might be tested, challenged on occasions, but they do believe if you have a big purpose, big objective in front of you, you stay on the course of your action and I think you can deliver on this on this vision.

Every day I have a reasons to be even more optimistic than than I used to be.

When I see a lot of people who are against us or who are very reserved whether they should collaborate with us and they change their minds.

They look into the facts, into our science, they realize how great opportunities and the smoke the world strategy can bring to all of us and they are supporting us now.

Gentle guitar music plays

Collaboration can deliver a smoke-free future

Last year, actually we have, you know, make public our statement of purpose when we very clearly said that the biggest impact PMI has on the society is to solve the problem of smoking over combustible cigarettes.

Text reads: Our objective is to fully leave cigarettes behind to one day become a smoke-free company.

Jacek continues speaking:

We said that our objective is to fully leave smoking combustible cigarettes behind, become one day a smoke-free company, but we also take it very seriously as the leader in the industry.

This is not only about Philip Morris becoming smoke-free, but how we can transform the entire industry.

Now to achieve that we need the collaborations with the governments, with regulators, with NGOs, with the public at large actually in order to make these things, uh, first, you know, being achievable.

On second being achievable in a very reasonable time.

Gentle guitar music plays

Text reads: How has PMI changed in the last five years?

Jacek continues speaking:

The last five years of my career in Philip Morris, I am almost 30 year with Philip Morris

or presumably the most meaningful, but the most also rewarding and exciting,

Where you working on something which is really new to the world, when you know that that you're doing this for the first time.

Nobody ever come with, the, such a bold objective of put the smoking, put the combustible cigarettes behind and do this as the, still today, combustible company.

That's very rewarding that, you know, you come up with the division, you come up with the strategies and you see this executions bearing already the fruits,

and you know you gain that motivation every day to do more, be faster, be bolder in your actions.

Gentle guitar music plays

Text reads: What drives you?

If you realize that you're doing something nobody ever did before, I mean that creates at least for, you know, myself this enormous level of excitement.

I mean, you know, that you're going into the territory which was completely unchartered,

nobody ever tried to unsmoke the world.

Nobody ever tried to solve the problem of a combustible cigarette.

The prime cause of harm generated by the smoking is an outcome of the combustion.

Okay when you burn the cigarette, when you burn the tobacco, you release the thousands of the chemicals.

Many of those chemicals that are very bad for the human body.

If you eliminate the combustion, you actually can achieve a very, very significant reductions in exposures to the toxicants.

And obviously we remained very clear in our communications to the public to the consumers that the best way for anybody is never to start smoking.

Obviously if you smoke, I mean the best choice you have is to quit smoking,

but we do also have to recognize that you know many, many men and women just don't quit and for them to change from the one product to the non-combustible product requires changing behavior.

Gentle guitar music plays

Text reads: What would you say to people who don't believe PMI?

Jacek continues speaking:

I do recognize that there is still a group of people who don't believe us.

That's fine, but I think the time comes when we should have a conversations, which we should listen to our facts we should acknowledge the fact that the science and the technology exists today,

which did not exist five or 10 years ago when you formed your opinions and you're still defending today and, you know, actually depriving smokers in the society at large from access to the products which would improve the quality of life of all of those men and women who otherwise would continue smoking.

So it's perfectly okay to disagree with us, but it's not perfectly okay to deprive yourself from ability to have a dialogue with us, to listen, to have a conversations, to read our science.

We know that our vision is right.

The biggest impact PMI has on the societies to solve the problem of smoking and the faster we'll recognize this whole thing and start working on strategies, the better we all together will be.

Text reads: Philip Morris International

Philip Morris International’s CEO Jacek Olczak shares his vision of a smoke-free future (without cigarettes)

Updated 08 Feb 2024 · 6:31 to watch
Have you ever wondered what motivates the CEO of one of the world’s largest international tobacco companies the most? It may surprise you to learn Jacek Olczak, CEO of Philip Morris International, is driven by a vision to make the world smoke-free.

Born an optimist and raised a pragmatist, Jacek Olczak is working toward a smoke-free future where cigarettes are replaced with less harmful, smoke-free alternatives for adults who would otherwise continue smoking.

PMI has been on this journey toward a smoke-free future for more than 10 years now. We’ve invested more than USD 12.5 billion in research and development as of December 31, 2023, and employed hundreds of scientists, engineers, and technicians to help create innovative smoke-free products. They are not risk-free, but represent a much better choice for adults than continuing to smoke cigarettes.

We know we cannot create a smoke-free future alone. Collaboration and transparency are key. That’s why we’re working closely with scientists, governments, and public health experts to earn the trust and active cooperation needed to make our vision a reality.

Watch the video to find out about the progress we’ve made so far, and what our plans are for the next five years.

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