NEW YORK | A tobacco giant predicting the end of cigarettes? This is what the general manager of Philip Morris International did when he said that sales of its flagship product could stop within “10 to 15 years” in some countries.
“A world in which cigarettes are obsolete is at hand,” André Calantzopoulos said Thursday during a speech at the Concordia Summit, an event organized on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
“In fact, with the right regulatory framework and the support of civil society, we believe that cigarette sales can stop within 10 to 15 years in many countries,” he added.
The general manager of Philip Morris does not foresee the disappearance of tobacco, but he pleads for the development of alternatives that are potentially less dangerous for health such as heated tobacco.
Unlike a traditional cigarette, the latter is consumed without combustion and without paper.
“Let's be clear: these products are not without risk,” he said. “And it's always best to never start smoking or give up tobacco and nicotine altogether. ”
But they are less harmful than cigarettes, he said while regretting a certain “ideological resistance” on the part of certain health authorities and associations.
The effect of heated tobacco or electronic cigarettes on health is still poorly understood. They certainly contain fewer toxic substances, but still nicotine, the substance that causes addiction.
For this reason, France, for example, does not want to consider the electronic cigarette as a weaning tool in the same way as patches, unlike the United Kingdom.
Electronic cigarettes have also taken off in the United States after a sudden attack of severe lung disease linked to vaping that killed 60 people in the country. The cause has been traced to an ingredient often added to cannabis-infused refills and sold on the black market.
In the process, the minimum age to buy electronic cigarettes was raised from 18 to 21 years and most flavors of electronic cigarettes using refills (“pods”), popular with young people, were banned.
The most well-known brand Juul, in which the tobacco company Altria (Marlboro) has invested heavily, has been accused of illegally selling its products to minors and targeting high school students, leading to a mountain of legal disputes.