25 February 2020 | News
Despite Its “Unsmoke” Rhetoric, PMI Continues to Invest in Its Deadly Cigarette Business
STOP (Stopping Tobacco Organizations and Products) published new analyses recently that show Philip Morris International is addicting new users to its IQOS product because its cigarette business is under threat, not because it solely wants smokers to quit.
According to “Addiction at Any Cost: Philip Morris International Uncovered,” PMI also continues marketing its cigarettes to young people and undermining global progress to reduce smoking.
STOP examined publicly available information, market research data and company documentation to develop the most recent comprehensive analysis of what the company says versus its behavior.
A Business Under Threat Creates a New Epidemic for Profit
PMI promotes the idea that IQOS is an alternative product just for smokers, but the analyses of company and market data show that IQOS products offer a profitable way for the company to offset declines in the deadly cigarette business:
“PMI wants to create a new epidemic of IQOS users while simultaneously selling as many cigarettes as possible. Despite what the company says, IQOS is not just for existing smokers; the way in which the product is marketed appeals more widely,” said the report’s lead author, Dr. Karen Evans-Reeves from the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, a partner in STOP. “IQOS is not about helping people quit smoking. In fact, PMI admits IQOS is not a cessation product. When you look at the data, it’s plain to see that IQOS is a cynical ploy by PMI to addict a new generation, irrespective of the harm they may cause. Profit is the true objective.”
PMI Perpetuates the Current Tobacco Epidemic
PMI’s global “Unsmoke” marketing campaign, which launched in 2019, suggests the company wants smokers to quit or, if they cannot, to switch to alternative addictive products. STOP researchers cite abundant evidence that PMI continues to invest in cigarettes, a deadly business that kills 8 million people every year:
PMI’s Failing Foundation
An analysis of PMI’s Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, which claims to be an independent scientific body, shows that despite almost $1 billion in pledged funding, the Foundation is failing:
“PMI’s future depends on showing its products are safe,” said Professor Anna Gilmore, Director of the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath and a partner in STOP. “Unfortunately, it has an appalling track record of setting up supposedly independent research organizations to fund favorable science. We must therefore remain highly skeptical of both PMI and its Foundation and any research they produce. Researchers are rightly rejecting its advances.”
In its report, STOP provides recommendations for how the global community can counter PMI’s efforts to create multiple epidemics of harm: