Big Tobacco is Ready to Sell Something New
For decades, tobacco companies like Phillip Morris have pushed cigarettes and played a role in getting over a billion people hooked on nicotine. Today, they’re adding new products to the lineup. Is this a new side to Big Tobacco or more of the same?
A new way to stay hooked on tobacco
Phillip Morris (the manufacturer behind brands like Marlboro, Virginia Slims, Parliament, and more) has a new strategy in their sales game: it’s time to switch to heated tobacco products. According to Philip Morris, these products are better alternatives to cigarettes because they’re smoke-free. Has the tobacco industry developed a conscience, suddenly concerned about the health of its smokers? Unlikely. Decades of misinformation and deceit suggest that Big Tobacco still only cares about one thing, and one thing only. Money.
Tobacco companies have a long track record of being negligent about their customers health, but entirely proactive about convincing them to smoke.
The Tobacco industry’s latest tactic
For too long, the tobacco industry has downplayed, hid or lied about information that proves the harmful effects of their products. Why should we believe them now? The times may change, but they’re still selling the same nicotine addiction.
After almost 200 years of selling cigarettes, Phillip Morris has spent a whopping $8.1 billion into developing its smoke-free business, IQOS. It’s now sold in 64 countries around the globe. With the equivalent of 76 billion consumable cigarettes sold last year, the new enterprise is off to a good start. Martin King, the CEO of Phillip Morris admits that “converting the world’s smokers is an extremely positive and lucrative business for us,” an indicator their focus is really about the bottom line.
Are heat-not-burn products safe?
According to the Los Angeles Times, “last year, the FDA said IQUOS was “not safe nor ‘FDA approved,’” but allowed it to be sold as a modified risk tobacco product.
When pressed on the issue of the safety of his company’s new products, King sounds much less confident. “It’s hard to say what that will result in as far as tobacco-related disease reduction,” Kings says. He continues, stating “that’s the part that we continue to develop the science on. The only way to be really certain is to watch what happens to real people, with real usage over time. That’s something we may not have an answer for in the near future.”
Based on King’s words, Phillip Morris admits they don’t know the long-term effects of these products and are using their customers to find out. No wonder groups like The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Lung Association have likened Big Tobacco’s treatment of its customers to testing on guinea pigs.
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