Philip Morris' International CEO Said Cigarettes Should Be Banned Worldwide

And he said his company will stop selling cigarettes in the UK in under 10 years.
Brad Bergan
A pack of Marlboro Golds.Terroa / iStock

Selling cigarettes could soon become illegal.

Philip Morris International's Chief Executive, which manufactures Marlboro cigarettes abroad, has announced that the firm will halt sales of the product in the U.K. before the decade is out, according to an initial Sunday report from The Mail.

And the CEO also encouraged the cancer-causing products to be banned worldwide. But this doesn't mean the company will actually halt sales of its product globally, which could seem inconsistent.

Philip Morris International wants the UK to outlaw cigarettes

This move is a step in a larger effort from the firm to phase out smoke-intensive products, doing their part to put an end to conventional cigarettes, which, as everyone knows, cause cancer. CEO Jacek Olczak of the company also urged the U.K. government to make cigarettes illegal before the decade ends, comparing them to fossil fuel-powered vehicles, which the island nation will ban come 2030, according to a report from The Telegraph. "We see the world without cigarettes. And actually, the sooner it happens, the better it is for everyone," said Olczak, in the report. "And you can solve the problem once and forever."

However, Phillip Morris International and Philip Morris USA are not the same. The latter manufactures cigarettes in the U.S., but is still a major division of the American tobacco company, known as Altria. It's a little-known fact that the former separated from Philip Morris USA in 2008, and then revealed plans to evolve into a smoke-free firm, in addition to its aims to purchase Vectura Group, a British pharmaceutical company that produces asthma inhalers. But there are some apparent inconsistencies in Philip Morris International's move, as U.K.-based anti-smoking groups have criticized the announcement as just another cynical attempt by tobacco companies to rebrand and reposition themselves as anti-smoking without actually halting their sales (and profits) from selling smoke-intensive cigarettes, according to a report from The Guardian.

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Outlawing conventional smokes could highlight the health effects of e-cigarettes

Everyone knows cigarettes are deadly, killing more than eight million people throughout the world annually, according to the World Health Organization. But even if moves like encouraging some countries to outlaw one's deadly product are just a cynical means of leveraging the morality of today to keep profits flowing through tomorrow, the lack of viable leverage to force all governments to outlaw cigarettes means steps like Philip Morris International's are as good as it gets. But, on the other hand, there's an argument to be made about whether humans should have the right to poison themselves, since it is their own life.

However, beyond cigarettes, the move to outlaw cigarettes in the U.K. could serve to further highlight the potential health risks of e-cigarettes and vaporizers in the country, which, studies have shown, may not be a safe supplement to cancer-causing drugs. A 2018 study found that popular e-cigs will often cause the same or higher levels of cardiovascular elevation post-smoking as conventional cigarettes. Specifically, conventional smokes raised blood pressure for only 15 minutes, whereas e-cigarettes left users with high blood pressure for 45 minutes. Later, in 2020, another report found that the heat from vaporizers and e-cigarettes can cause lung injury, potentially increasing the likelihood of contracting COVID-19. With world-historical threats abounding in the modern world, it might be a good idea to just stop smoking. But whether anyone should force you is another conversation entirely.