CEO of Philip Morris International envisions achieving such a goal through offering smokers an alternative.
The rise of vaping has to lead to some of the lowest smoking rates in history. With this in mind, it’s surprising to hear that the head of the world’s largest cigarette company says he believes in achieving a “smoke-free world.”
Andre Calantzopoulos, CEO of Philip Morris International (PMI), addressed the Boston College Chief Executives club and made his pitch to “unsmoke the world” by offering smokers a better option to traditional cigarettes. Calantzopoulous envisions this being accomplished with the help of alternatives to smoking such as PMI’s “heat not burn” IQOS product.
Members of the vaping community praised the CEO for embracing vaping and offering both vapors and smokers an innovative product to use in their journey to abstain from smoking. Anti-vaping activists have criticized the remarks as nothing more than marketing for vaping products they feel are just as harmful as tobacco products.
Calantzopoulous has compared the challenges of achieving a smoke-free world to the goals of reaching the end of using any carbon-based fuels. “You can have the belief that people will just stop using fossil fuels and spend your time demonizing the oil companies; or you can find some logical midway accepting that people will engage… rather than talking ideology.” he said.
“Unsmoke” The World
Regardless of decades of education, purchasing restrictions, and aggressive taxation, there are currently 1.1 billion smokers worldwide smoking over 5.3 trillion cigarettes per year. Despite the rise of smoking cessation aids such as vaping products, the World Health Organization projects those numbers to remain steady through 2025 and potentially beyond.
PMI recently received FDA approval to sell the IQOS vaping product in the US through the Altria group. The company believes devices such as theirs are pivotal to giving smokers an alternative to help achieve a smoke-free world.
There are some anti-tobacco activists and organizations that outright reject the notion that vaping is a safe alternative to smoking despite growing evidence to the contrary. A group of 123 anti-smoking groups sent a letter to Calantzopoulos that called on PMI to stop making and selling cigarettes entirely
However, as research continues to emerge highlighting the efficacy of vaping as a smoking cessation aid, some are growing concerned of Big Tobacco’s true motives. They worry allowing companies like PMI into the vaping industry will eventually lead to the destruction of the independent businesses which built it.
Safety Of Vaping
According to research by the Center for Disease Control, there are nearly 38 million smokers in the United States, with 15 million of those currently suffering with some sort of smoking-related disease. With such a staggering number of people suffering from this epidemic, it’s absolutely vital to public health at large for safe alternatives to be available for those looking to quit.
Vaping devices add to a robust list of products effective at helping smokers quit, including nicotine patches and gum. A study conducted by researchers from the University of Louisville found vaping to be the single most effective tool available to help smokers quit, even beating out prescription options.
Looking into the harm reduction value of vaping and the story only gets better. A study published by British American Tobacco found switching to vaping reduces the risks associated with smoking by as much as 96%. Even Public Health England has called vaping at least 95% safer than continued smoking.
Incredibly, the Journal of Aerosol Sciences published a study which found vapers have a 57,000 times lower risk of cancer compared with smokers. The study had concluded particulate matter found in the vapor is much less harmful than the combustible byproducts found in tobacco smoke.
Smoking cessation aids allow smokers to break free from a crippling and often lifelong addiction. They offer hope to those who may feel hopeless in regards to improving their health.
Companies such as Philip Morris embracing vaping as the future is a step in the right direction for the goal of achieving a tobacco-free society. That said, we must keep a wary eye on what their real motives are.
Misguided vaping regulations, such as the restriction of online purchases, can potentially be a significant public health risk. Smokers are not only restricted from a life-saving alternative, but they may also be led to believe vaping is similar in risk to smoking.
It’s vital for members of the vaping community to support any alternatives to continued smoking, even if they come from a Big Tobacco company. Investment and innovation in the vaping industry ultimately benefit all citizens, especially those who struggled to quit smoking.
Have you personally used vaping to reduce or quit smoking? How do you feel about major companies such as Philip Morris and British American Tobacco getting into the vaping industry? What’s the most crucial part about vaping for you? Let us know in the comments section below. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and be sure to check back here for all the latest vaping news and reviews.