Change for smokers is here — PMFTC
A top executive of a tobacco company said that change for smokers is here and for those who do not quit smoking, there are now better alternatives to switch away from cigarettes.
Speaking before the Agri-Business Countryside Development Foundation of the Management Association of the Philippines, Dave Gomez, director for Global Communications of PMFTC Inc., the local affiliate of Philip Morris International (PMI), said on Tuesday that the science exists and hundreds of peer-reviewed journals are saying one thing: that smoke-free alternatives are better for smokers who do not quit.
“Refusal to accept the evidence staring us in the face and remaining passive will only lead to millions of deaths worldwide from smoking. Inaction is a choice that shapes the future,” Gomez said.
He said the devastating impact of inaction continues in many places, perpetuating a vicious cycle of misinformation that prevents millions of adult smokers from switching to better alternatives.
Gomez said there is overwhelming science today that concludes that smoke-free products are much better alternatives than continuing to smoke. Many other public health authorities like the Public Health England and the UK College of Royal Physicians have validated scientific findings that vape products produce 90-95 percent less toxins compared to conventional cigarettes.
He noted that the process of burning produces a chemical factory and in the case of cigarettes, the smoke it releases is made up of more than 6,000 chemical compounds, many of which are found to be toxic and cancer-causing.
“The burning of tobacco also releases nicotine. Nicotine, although not entirely risk-free and addicting, is not the primary cause of smoking-related diseases. It’s the smoke,” he said, stressing that, “Smoke is the problem, not nicotine.”
Gomez said, “Science has presented us the opportunity. We have the chance to implement an innovative approach, proven in several countries, with the potential to speed up the end to cigarettes.”
PMI recently declared its goal to become a majority smoke-free business by 2025. By targeting more than 50 percent of its total revenues to come from smoke-free products, Gomez said, the company is accelerating toward a world without cigarettes.
“It is difficult for a lot of people to wrap their heads around the fact that Philip Morris is telling people that the best thing an adult smoker can do is to quit cigarettes and nicotine altogether. That if adult smokers don’t quit, then there are better alternatives,” he said.
PMFTC Inc. launched IQOS, the world’s leading heated tobacco product three years ago in the Philippines. Since then, Gomez said more than 75,000 Filipino smokers have quit cigarettes altogether and have switched to IQOS.
“Change is here and the time to change is now,” Gomez added.