Today there are around one billion smokers in the world. The World Health Organization predicts this number will remain roughly the same come 2025.1 At Philip Morris International, we’ve spent over a decade developing smoke-free products. Adults who don’t quit tobacco and nicotine altogether deserve better alternatives to continued smoking.

But for these smokers (who would otherwise continue to smoke cigarettes) to switch to better alternatives, they must first be allowed to access information about them. Unfortunately, tobacco regulation in several countries have been drafted many years ago, when better products than continued smoking did not exist. This created legal uncertainty and adult smokers are often precluded from receiving accurate information that would allow their informed decision making.

The best choice any smoker can make is to quit cigarettes and nicotine altogether. But many will continue to smoke. Preventing these men and women from learning about and accessing science-backed smoke-free alternatives means accepting the status quo and the fact the vast majority of them will continue to smoke cigarettes, the most harmful form of nicotine consumption. An inclusive dialogue and an open mind about the role smoke-free alternatives can play in addressing a major global health problem are needed for the hundreds of millions of men and women who would otherwise continue smoking


The well-known risks of smoking have led regulators to impose restrictions and excise taxes on cigarettes. Tobacco and nicotine containing products are not risk-free and should be subject to strict regulation. However, these products exist in a continuum of risk, and therefore their regulation should be adjusted according to their risk profile. The aerosol from a smoke-free product can be fundamentally different from the smoke of a burning cigarette. If science validates that there is a difference between these products, shouldn’t they be treated differently? And shouldn’t adult smokers know about them? Regulation must account for, and adapt to, the pace of scientific and technological progress. The right mix of policy measures can maximize the opportunities that innovation offers, while at the same time minimizing its unintended consequences.


Current regulations designed to prevent smoking and encourage cessation, alongside public health campaigns with the same ambition, are important initiatives to deliver a smoke-free future. We support governmental efforts around this. However, a third pillar is needed that will enable better choices for those adults who would otherwise continue smoking. We are developing and testing products that deliver nicotine-containing aerosols with lower levels of harmful and potentially harmful chemicals compared with cigarette smoke, and expect that adult smokers will find satisfying enough to switch to completely.

We have invested $8.1bn cumulative since 2008, employing 430 world-class scientists, engineers and technicians. On top of this, nearly 13 million adult smokers have stopped smoking and switched to our electrically heated tobacco products. To be clear, regulations should continue to dissuade people from starting to smoke and encourage cessation. But it’s equally clear the millions of adults who continue to smoke should have the opportunity to switch to scientifically substantiated better alternatives. There is no substitute for quitting altogether, but we believe we can together contribute to positively impacting public health—by recognizing the potential of smoke-free alternatives to continued smoking. That’s why we are making major investments in developing smoke-free products

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