PMFTC eyes shift to smoke-free alternatives
During the virtual event organized by the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines, PMFTC president Denis Gorkun said the company is going smoke-free because “it is the right thing to do and our resources allow for it.”
STAR/File
PMFTC eyes shift to smoke-free alternatives
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - October 18, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — PMFTC Inc., the partnership between Philip Morris International (PMI) and the Lucio Tan Group, is looking to replace cigarettes with smoke-free alternatives in the future.

During the virtual event organized by the Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines, PMFTC president Denis Gorkun said the company is going smoke-free because “it is the right thing to do and our resources allow for it.”

He said PMI, which aims to shift to achieve the transformation at the soonest possible time, has invested $7 billion in research and development and hired over 400 scientific experts for the endeavor.

As of last year, he said PMI had 5,800 patents and produced studies that have been reviewed or are currently under scrutiny.

“For our company, the answer is clear: we need to innovate, and innovate responsibly. By doing something that sounds easy in theory but is much more difficult in practice. And that is to take the smoke out of smoking,” he said.

He said governments around the world including the Philippines have been taking steps to address smoking prevalence through the imposition of higher taxes and putting warnings on packs as well as in stores.

Despite these efforts, he said there are still 16 million smokers in the Philippines.

“It’s no easy feat but as a company, we have developed – and continue to develop – a range of smoke-free products that do not burn and do not produce smoke but deliver the same tobacco experience that people, who would otherwise continue to smoke, desire,” he said.

He said such products however, are not risk-free as nicotine is addictive and minors or those 20 years old and below should not use vape or smoke-free alternatives.

“But for those adult smokers who don’t want to quit smoking, smoke-free alternatives represent a better choice than continued smoking,” he said.

Heated tobacco product IQOS, which was launched as a result of extensive research and development, has been recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration as a product different from combustible cigarettes.

IQOS, which includes a pocket charger and heating device, heats real tobacco but does not produce smoke, fire or ash.

The product is authorized to be marketed in the US under a modified exposure order and is deemed appropriate for the promotion of public health and expected to benefit the health of the population.

“When we tested the IQOS aerosol, we saw the big difference that heating makes. Comparing two filter pads, one that absorbs cigarette smoke, and the other, IQOS non-smoke aerosol, we readily noticed their difference in color. The filter pad with smoke is brown and is loaded with toxic particles, while the filter pad with vapor has retained its white color. That’s because the aerosol mass is composed of mostly water and glycerin only, without any carbon-based solid particles,” Gorkun said.

He said PMI would continue to work with consumers until they find the solution to replace cigarettes.

“Millions of people who would otherwise continue to smoke are changing with us. And we expect the pace of change to accelerate and we are looking forward to taking this journey with adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke,” he said.

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