• May 23, 2024

Innovation the key

 Innovation the key

Philip Morris International has said that, given the right conditions, it could stop selling combustible cigarettes in less than a century.
PMI yesterday published a position paper giving its views on the eighth session of the Conference of Parties (COP8) to the World Health Organization Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC).
‘With more than one billion people expected to be smoking in 2025, PMI is urging the WHO, the hundreds of delegates convening in Geneva this week, and the wider public health community to embrace the potential of innovative alternatives to cigarettes in order to achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals for non-communicable diseases as quickly as possible,’ PMI said.
PMI acknowledged that smoking prevalence was in decline but argued that the pace of that decline could be much faster.
‘The landscape of tobacco and nicotine products has evolved significantly over recent years,’ the company said. ‘Not all tobacco products are the same with respect to their health risks. Moreover, rapid innovation offers opportunities to accelerate the downward trajectory of smoking prevalence.’
PMI said that, ultimately, it aimed to stop selling cigarettes entirely and was confident that this could happen in less than a century if smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke were proactively encouraged to switch to less harmful alternatives, which already exist but were either not well known or in some cases restricted.
‘Where these products have been adopted, for instance, in countries such as Japan and the UK, there have been unprecedented declines in cigarette sales,’ PMI said. Progress in these countries signals the potential for great change across the globe and is the core reason why PMI has publicly committed its future to being smoke-free, and continues to develop new science-based technologies and innovations that offer better alternatives to men and women who would otherwise continue to smoke.’
PMI’s policy-making recommendations published yesterday include:

  • Policies must continue to dissuade minors, ex-smokers, and non-smokers from using tobacco- and nicotine-containing products, while making better alternatives to cigarettes available to adults who smoke.
  • Tobacco control policies should encompass tobacco-harm reduction strategies as well as supply and demand measures that encourage smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke to switch to better alternatives.
  • There should be thorough, independent verification of manufacturers’ products and science to assess how ENDS [electronic nicotine delivery systems] and novel and emerging tobacco and nicotine products can support policies to reduce smoking prevalence.
  • There should be national and global surveillance systems to study market trends. This surveillance should include data on product usage, including switching rates associated with different tobacco and nicotine products, to enable accurate reporting of smoking prevalence and the use of ENDS and novel and emerging tobacco products.
  • Incentives should encourage investment and continuous research and development of less harmful alternatives, including the establishment of quality and performance standards for smoke-free products.
  • Mechanisms should be established to enable transparent interaction and consultation between governments and producers of emerging tobacco and nicotine products.

The policy paper is at: https://www.pmi.com/resources/docs/default-source/newsroom/pmi-cop-position-statement.pdf?sfvrsn=41ff9cb5_10.