In a surprising turn of events, Philip Morris announced in a series of ads in various newspapers in the United Kingdom that they want to “try to give up cigarettes” and try to eventually stop selling them in the UK. As a wise little green alien once said “Do or do not- there is no try”. “Trying” is not good enough when it comes to a product that kills 7 million people worldwide.
PMI announced they plan to launch a cessation website and insert cessation information in to cigarette packets. But they also plan on promoting ‘alternatives’ to cigarettes. Do you think these alternatives will probably be their electronic and heat-not-burn products? These devices are shown to be dangerous to health and there has not been enough definitive evidence that these are successful at helping people quit for good. History has shown that anti-tobacco and cessation programs funded by tobacco companies aren’t effective and have even been called “half-hearted”. The company also planned to “offer support” to local government authorities that offer cessation resources- likely in the form of monetary donations. In reality, it’s illegal for the UK government to accept donations from tobacco companies.
Why stop at the UK? If Philip Morris wanted to take the moral high ground and truly play a part in a smoke-free future, they would stop selling cigarettes all over the world. This is likely a ploy to continue to expand their alternative products and shift their customers to different products, preserving their presence in the UK market.