Phillip Morris International (PMI) insists that, despite consumer complaints, its cigarettes in Saudi Arabia taste the same as they did before the introduction of generic tobacco packaging in the kingdom, reports Arabian News.
Since the implementation of plain packaging in August, a number of smokers have reportedly complained to the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) about a perceived difference in cigarette quality.
The SFDA has sent samples to product-testing lab Eurofins to see if there has been any change in the quality of cigarettes over the past two years. It also asked PMI and other cigarette companies for clarification.
“Not only do we abide by all applicable regulations, we also apply stringent and consistent global policies, standards and good manufacturing practices with respect to the machinery, ingredients, safety and quality for all our products, across all our facilities,” PMI said in a statement.
“There has been no change to the ingredients, manufacturing processes, quality and taste of tobacco relating to our products in the Saudi market before and after the implementation of the plain packaging regulation mandated by the SFDA.”
PMI cigarettes sold in Saudi Arabia are manufactured in Germany, Poland and Turkey.